Wilmington Firefighters Douse Tree House Flames
Youths playing with matches caused the fire, which was quickly put out by firefighters after some tense moments.
Firefighters have preached for years not to play with matches. On Friday, Wilmington youths found out first hand that firefighters aren’t just blowing smoke when they use the expression.
A Factory Road tree house went up in flames early Friday evening after a group of youths were playing with matches, according to Wilmington Deputy Fire Chief Rick McClellan.
“It’s an issue that’s been around for a lot of years, kids bored and playing with matches not realizing how dangerous they can be,” said McClellan. “Kids underestimate the power of their actions, and having a fire inside a tree fort is what this came down to.”
Initial reports indicated that firefighters were concerned because of tree branches above the structure and a 55-gallon barrel of antifreeze that was located on the ground nearby.
However, McClellan said the fire did not spread into the trees because there was rain in the area throughout the week. The barrel was not located directly under the tree house, so it never caught fire.
The owner of the tree house was not home at the time of the incident. One neighborhood father climbed the ladder of the tree house and looked inside. He was able to alert firefighters that there was no one inside at the time of the fire.
McClellan said the youths had left the tree house believing they had put out the small fire that had been started. But after they left, the flames picked up and engulfed the entire structure.
Though McClellan said Wilmington firefighters are accustomed to putting out flames in houses in town, Friday’s incident was a bit more rare.
“It’s been a while since we responded to a tree house fire,” said McClellan. “We get shed fires and things in yards like that. But it’s been quite a while since we had a tree house.”