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    Post Vero Beach Fla--Winds Fan Brush Fire and Threaten Homes

    Brush fire chars woods in Highlands
    A Vero Beach Highlands parcel goes up in wind-driven smoke Tuesday.

    By Marc Dadigan staff writer
    January 1, 2003

    Robert Wolff awoke late Tuesday morning to the sound of a firefighter's hose battering against his living-room window.

    "I came outside because I was wondering what was hitting my window," Wolff said. "Then I saw the smoke."

    A few feet away from his 15th Avenue Southwest home in the Vero Beach Highlands, a furious brush fire had engulfed a 100-by-300-yard parcel of palm trees and shrubbery, reaching the top of 20-foot trees, neighbors said.

    "Once I saw it, I got on top of my roof and watered it down with the garden hose," Wolff said. "Luckily the fire stayed to the trees."

    Three fire trucks and two brush trucks, all-wheel drive vehicles strapped with a 500-gallon tank of water, responded to the brush fire in the 2300 block of 16th Avenue Southwest about 10:30 a.m. and were able to get the fire under control within minutes, said Indian River County Fire Battalion Chief Ed Prime.

    No one was injured in the blaze, and the fire didn't appear to have inflicted any damage to nearby homes, he added.

    "The first crew on scene did a heck of job fighting the head of the fire, which is the really difficult part of a brush fire," Prime said.

    While it was not immediately clear what caused the fire, it probably started around the corner of 23rd Street Southwest and 15th Avenue Southwest, said Fire Captain Capt. Robert Von Buelow.

    That location was just across the street from where 12-year-old Ian Beal dialed 911 as he watched what he called a small "bonfire" erupt into a massive fire, he said.

    "I had just gone to get something to drink, and when I came back out I saw the fire getting really big," he said. "I didn't think about anything (when I saw it), except to get the garden hose and try to put it out."

    Beal had little luck in extinguishing the fire himself, as Prime said that Tuesday's swirling winds, which reached speeds up to 20 mph, probably helped spread the fire.

    - marc.dadigan@scripps.com
    Last edited by captstanm1; 01-04-2003 at 10:25 AM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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