Fortunate no one lost their lives, Outstanding effort by firefighters, Predictable given the wind, Scarry sight to see. These are some of the statements that have been heard often over the last week on the Outer Banks in response to the house fire that started last Saturday night (4/14/12) in the Pine Island Subdivision in Corolla. Two vacation rental homes on Cottage Cove Road were completely lost to fire, and a 3rd house is severely damaged as a result of the 13 alarm fire which took place during a strong wind. 18 rental guests escaped the property where the fire started with their lives, but not much else. Reports indicate that the fire spread so fast and engulfed the house so entirely that the occupants were unable to retrieve any of their personal belongings. Purses and wallets were even left in the property as well the 6 vehicles that belonged to the occupants were completely consumed with fire within moments. The fire was reported at 9:28 PM last Saturday night, and within 9 minutes the first fire trucks were on scene. Firefighters pumped 1,000 gallons of water per minute to try and contain the flames, and in spite of great efforts of 13 different fire departments on the scene they were unable to save the three structures that were lost or most severely damaged.
As you look at the picture noted here you can see the tremendous destruction from the fire, but you may also note that there was one property (to the right) which looks virtually untouched due to the firefighters efforts. In a briefing to the local board of commissioners this week Currituck County Fire and EMS chief Rob Glover reported the close proximity of the houses and the 20 mile per hour winds there was "no way" firefighters could have contained the damage to anything less than took place. Chief Glover described the flames as a "blow torch effect" towards the other structures with the winds that were in place that night. In looking at the scene "you realize what a good job everyone did." Glover noted the cooperation of all area fire departments and he stopped the rumors about a lack of water causing problems for the firefighters. The chief explained to the county commissioners that the pulled 4-5 hours of constant water from two hydrants at the rate of 1,000 gallons per minute. In addition to the 300,000 gallons of water that was used through the hydrants four water shuttle units delivered an additional 163,000 gallons of water during the blaze. Residents of the area described the sight of the flames from many miles away. "The whole darn sky is red" said one resident of Southern shores. "It was a scarry night. It shows how vulnerable all of these houses on the Outer Banks can be to fire." As of Friday, April 20th there has been no cause of the fire released by the Fire marshall. The State Bureau of Investigation is now on the scene of the fire to sift through the rubble and conduct interviews to see if a cause of the massive blaze can be determined.