Thursday, June 15, 2006

Burn Ban Unheeded

Fires are flaring up all over again
By Jeremy PittariItem Staff Writer

PICAYUNE — Numerous fires in two counties are causing volunteer fire departments to run themselves ragged.
A 32-acre fire in Hancock county threatened numerous structures with reports of others damaged by the flames, while numerous fires in Pearl River County are flaring up up everywhere.
Upon arrival at the large fire in Hancock County, Southeast and Leetown volunteer fire departments were expecting the fire to approach a collection of travel trailers occupied by a family. The fire was discovered to have been started by a neighbor who was burning a stump that reignited, said Jennifer Norman, who was responsible for the fire.
Norman said she had a stump burning in her yard Monday and put it out the same day. Norman said she did not know about the burn ban that was initiated in Hancock county a couple of weeks ago because it was not properly publicized. (Burn Ban has been in place since March 9)
Tuesday, the stump must have sparked up again and started a woods fire, Norman said. That fire almost took numerous neighbors’ homes along with a collection of travel trailers nearby.“It just took off like you wouldn’t believe,” Norman said.
Norman noticed the fire from inside her home and put her kids in their aunt’s care for safe keeping so she could fight the fire, she said. As Norman was doing her best to contain the flames with a hose, a neighbor passing by stopped to help fight the fire, she said.“I don’t even know this lady and she’s over at my house helping me put this fire out,” Norman said about her neighbor Rhonda Penton.
Norman said her main concern was the lives of the neighbors in White Cypress Lakes where the fire took place.“I just didn’t want anybody to die,” Norman said.
Norman and her family just moved to the area after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home in Pass Christian, she said.
Carriere, Nicholson, volunteer fire departments also had a busy day. Phillip Bennett of Carriere Volunteer Fire Department said his department worked about five fires yesterday. There was also a large fire in Nicholson that Picayune and Pine Grove fire departments helped Nicholson respond to, Bennett said.
Jason Banister of Leetown VFD said there was a fire his department fought yesterday and today. Carriere Volunteer Fire Department also has been fighting numerous fires in their county, Leonard said.
Danny Leonard with Southeast Volunteer Fire Department wishes a burn ban would be declared in Pearl River County.


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