DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL

Firefighters douse 5-acre Palm Coast blaze

By JAMES MILLER
Staff Writer

Last update: 24 May 2003


PALM COAST -- A construction site and a pond helped keep back a 5-acre brush fire off the interchange of Interstate 95 and Palm Coast Parkway on Wednesday.

And, oh yes, more than 20 full-time and volunteer firefighters from two agencies, a helicopter pilot and other emergency personnel, sheriff's deputies and construction workers did their part to manage the situation, too.

Just after 1 p.m., an overheated tire blew out on a tractor-trailer that had pulled onto the southbound exit ramp, said Chief Mike Beadle of the Palm Coast Fire Department. The blow-out set off a grass fire that spread within minutes to a triangular strip of palmettos and heavy underbrush between the exit ramp, I-95 and Palm Coast Parkway.

"Our concern was to stop it before it spotted over (jumped) and got into this neighborhood," Beadle said, referring to nearby Indian Trails East.

The Sheriff's Office sent reverse emergency calls into nearby neighborhoods to let residents know about the fire and tell them smoke and ash probably would remain in the area for several hours, according to a Flagler County Emergency Services release.

No one was injured, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies discovered the fire after responding to an accident call on Palm Coast Parkway, Capt. Mark Carman said.

By 2:05 p.m., the fire was contained, according to a Flagler County Emergency Services release. It was far from extinguished, though, and was still smoldering early Thursday, said Peggie Calkins, senior staff assistant with the Palm Coast Fire Department.

From an informal command center off Boulder Rock Drive on Wednesday, Beadle said the nearby Home Depot construction site provided "a good fire break."

When the construction site was cleared of brush, it was also cleared of fuel for the fire, Beadle said.

Construction workers used heavy equipment to help put down part of the fire that jumped over the exit ramp, he said.

Even after the fire was contained, the county's FireFlight helicopter hovered in the air. The helicopter dropped 40 loads of water -- 8,400 gallons -- collected from a nearby pond onto the fire, County Fire Chief Jim Cooper said.

County firefighters also responded to a 2-acre brush fire near County Road 304 and State Road 11 on Wednesday, Cooper said. FireFlight dropped 18 buckets of water there.

james.miller@news-jrnl.com