Henrico Fire Crews work to stay ahead of brush fires

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - One of the hardest hit areas in Monday's rash of brush fires was Henrico County. Crews there responded to more than a dozen fires throughout the day.

Even as night fell the flames were still burning in some parts of the county. With the dry conditions and high winds, crews will need to keep an eye on each scene to prevent flare ups from occurring.

Despite this rash of brush fires, Henrico crews were able to prevent any injuries and serious property loss. It was no easy task. The entire response was engineered from a command center on Darbytown Road.

The Henrico Fire Department oversaw a massive response to more than a dozen fires that started small, and could've ended much worse.

"These are things we can't really avoid to a certain extent," said Will Schumate, from the Henrico Fire Department.

Pamela Thomas doesn't want to think about how bad it could've been.

"I wasn't even sure where the child was at," Thomas said.

Her daughter was one of 60 children rushed from Antioch Baptist Church. The Church was dangerously close to the line of fire.

"The fire continued and it appeared that it even crossed the road because there was another fire in the back of a home, and they decided ya, maybe we better evacuate," said Gail Sales who runs the Church's daycare on New Market Road.

While the situation on New Market Road was a near miss, it was much different on Eastover Avenue where a live electrical line caught trees on fire. The wind whipped the flames into an apartment complex.

"I heard a loud bang boom. I walked outside to the back and the woods were burning," said Laurie Wilson who witnessed the fire.

More than a dozen people were pushed out of their homes. The damage was enough to leave them homeless.

Fire crews say the worst is over. But these conditions that led 12 different fires throughout the county still remain, keeping everyone on high alert.

'We will be out as long as it takes," said Schumate

The Richmond Red Cross is helping those people displaced from those apartments.

Henrico officials tell us these fires were the worst they have had to deal with since 2009. It happened the same time of year, with the same kind of conditions and led to almost an identical outcome.

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