Story and Photos by Bob Bartosz, Nash County Fire Photographer
North Carolina first responders had a busy week between dodging a hurricane, tornadoes, working fires, and water rescues . Many of the roads in North Carolina are still closed due to flooding, including Interstate I-95. On September 16, 2018 Chief Teddy Stamatis had just left his home to go shopping when a fire call came in for a working fire at his Macclesfield Fire Station. On arrival he found heavy fire showing in the firehouse. He was able to get one of the apparatus bay doors open and remove one of his tankers to safety. He tried to get back in, but the building was heavily involved. He could hear the other local fire departments responding, and many of his firefighters were now arriving on location. There wasn’t much they could do until the other fire apparatus arrived. In total, 10 different stations responded with more than 70 firefighters and brought the fire under control after several hours.
The fire destroyed four fire engines as well as all the interior contents of the station. The fire came in around 9:30 am, and at 4:30 pm firefighters were still extinguishing hot spots and removing debris. Various local fire stations had contacted Stamatis to offer him equipment to help him out along with his 23 members. Stamatis said that they had been on 24-hour call waiting to assist other local fire companies in the many towns in North Carolina that are completely flooded.
More than 900 water rescues were made including more than 500 rescues from one town in New Bern, North Carolina. The water level is still rising even though the storm has passed. As I write this story, 2,300 residents have been asked to leave their homes due to the water rising at a fast rate. Officials report that this will last for several more days.
The town of Macclesfield is a small town in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. It is one of the few towns in our area that is still dry. It is almost impossible to drive 10-15 miles East or South and not be met by closed off road, due to high waters and debris on the roads. Ten volunteer fire departments departments responded from two counties: South Edgecombe, Pinetops, Conetoe, Baker Town East Nash, Tosinot, Bethel, Speed, Sharp Point, Fountian, and Sharpsburg.
Stamatis said would like to thank all the departments that were calling to ask him what they could do for his department with trucks and equipment to get back in operation as quickly as possible.