Florida Fires Rage out of Control

Officials said Monday morning that the 1,000-acre Volusia County brush fire is contained by cut lines, but it is still not under control.

The fire forced officials to issue a mandatory evacuation for hundreds of residents Sunday in the New Smyrna Beach area. At least three homes have already been damaged or destroyed and that number could rise when residents are allowed to return home and inspect the damage.

The evacuated area is east of Interstate 95, north of state Road 44, west of Glencoe Road and south of Pioneer Trail. The brush fire has consumed at least 1,000 acres so far.

At a Monday morning briefing, a spokeswoman for the city of New Smyrna Beach said 125 firefighters from various local and state agencies are currently battling the blaze.

Images from Chopper 2 showed firefighters hosing down a water treatment plant on state Road 44 Sunday night.

Massive plumes of smoke and fire are surrounding some homes in the Sugar Mill Country Club community and the Sugar Mill Estates. Between 800 to 1,000 homes have been evacuated, and officials also suggested that another 200 residents who live between Spruce Creek on the north and Turnbull Bay Road on the east evacuate, too.

City officials will notify residents when it is safe to return home, but that will likely not be until at least Monday afternoon.

One firefighter was taken to a hospital Sunday to be treated for smoke inhalation. Officials said he is in stable condition.

I-95 northbound is closed from state Road 442 in Edgewater to the Dunlawton Avenue exit in Port Orange. I-95 southbound is closed from Dunlawton Avenue to state Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach.

S.R. 44 is closed between I-95 and county Road 415, and Pioneer Trail is closed between Venetian Bay and Sugar Mill Drive.

School officials said all schools are open Monday and students should report to their normal schools. School officials said Monday morning that bus stops for students living on the closed portions of Pioneer Trail have been changed. Students should go to either Glencoe Road or Turnbull Bay Road for pick up, the Volusia County School District said.

The New Smyrna Beach Utlility Commission cut off power to homes in the area because some of the power poles were catching fire. For that reason, officials said no one in the evacuated areas will be allowed to return home before Monday afternoon. Police officers patroled the evacuated areas all night long Sunday.

"I've never been in a situation like this before. I'm very upset. It looks pretty bad," one homeowner said.

Joan Brown said she didn't have time to grab anything before she was forced to flee.

"At least I would have brought some of my family pictures with me," Brown said.

Officials have opened a shelter for evacuees at the Babe James Center, located at 201 North Myrtle Ave. in New Smyrna Beach. The shelter will accept pets if you bring them caged and bring food.

If the Babe James Center fills up, a second shelter will open at the First United Methodist Church, located at 215 Palmetto Street in New Smyrna Beach. A Red Cross spokeswoman said Sunday night that about 50 people were at the Babe James Center.

Residents can also call citizen information lines at (386) 424-2113 or (386) 424-2114. Residents can also check cable channel 99 for more information.

The fire began about 1 p.m. Sunday west of I-95 and it jumped the interstate. Officials said they do not know yet how the fire started.

Stay with WESH 2 News and WESH.com for updates on this developing story.

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