GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - Firefighters in Gloucester County battled several brush fires over the weekend, including one that destroyed more than 1200 acres of land, damaged houses, boats and vehicles and forced more than 100 residents from their homes.
On Saturday, about 1200 to 1400 acres of land burned between Starvation Road and Island Road. Members of Gloucester Fire and Rescue arrived on scene about 3:06 p.m. to find several hundred acres on fire, with high winds spreading the fire rapidly.
Several area fire departments responded to the scene to assist with fighting the fire, including Abingdon Fire Department, Naval Weapons Station, York County, James City County, King and Queen County, Mathews County, West Point, Forestry Department and CERT members.
During the course of the fire, homes, garages, hunting lodges, boats and vehicles were damaged. The Gloucester Sheriff's Office called in off-duty personnel to assist with evacuating more than 100 residents from about thirty homes. Additional dispatchers were also summoned to assist with the high volume of radio traffic.
Holley Fields was forced to evacuate her home on Saturday. "You could see all the smoke coming up and I didn't think too much of it, but it started to get worse," she told WAVY News 10 on Monday.
Juanita Adams, an Adams Creek resident, remembered when the call to evacuate came in around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. "I just grabbed a couple of things and left, and didn't know if I'd ever see anything again."
"II started hyperventilating," said Fields. "I was really scared. I called everybody that I knew.
"Propane tanks were exploding and the cats were scratching on my arm."
Phillips Oil and Gas responded to the scene to deliver diesel fuel for the fire trucks, and several citizens supported the effort by providing food and drinks to fire personnel. Residents also provided additional bulldozers to assist the Forestry Department with their efforts to contain the blaze.
The Red Cross was contacted to assist with the placement of a family, and Gloucester Animal Control assisted with the placement of family pets.
Also on Saturday, about 60 members from area fire departments responded to Jenkins Neck Road just after noon. The fire burned about .125 acres, including a barn. Several times throughout the evening, Abingdon Fire responded back to the area for hot spots that had rekindled.
On Sunday, the Abingdon Fire Department and the Forestry Department responded to another brush fire in the area of Kings Creek Road at 8:49 a.m. About 25 members remained on scene until 3:30 p.m. The majority of Gloucester Fire and Rescue remained on scene until 3:08 p.m.
Gloucester fire officials said they were grateful of the assistance from everyone involved and the cooperation of so many departments and personnel. Without the efforts of so many, there would have been several more homes and property destroyed, they said.
Fire officials said dry conditions and high winds attributed to the fires.
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
A Freedom of Information Act response from the Norfolk Police Department reveals more details about the attack of a woman at the Ross department store at Military Circle last week.
Beach Events is reviewing policies and procedures after a float caught fire during the TowneBank Holiday Parade Saturday night.