By MICAH HENRY
Windy conditions, a lack of a nearby fire hydrant, and limited access made firefighting difficult in northwest Alexander County on Good Friday.
Firefighters on Friday afternoon, April 15, 2022, requested motorists to avoid Gus Pennell Lane in the Ellendale Community, due to two structures on fire and a brush fire there. Access room was limited for emergency vehicles.
Gus Pennell Lane is located off Hidden Valley Road, which runs off Mountain Ridge Church Road near Dover Church Road.
Forest Ranger David Huffman noted that the fire scorched 20 acres in the area. He called in special resources to assist in fighting the fire.
“We utilized a NCFS dozer, NCFS helicopter, NCFS scout plane, plus some members of the Alexander strike team” to fight the fire, Huffman stated.
Ellendale Fire Chief David White said that two structures were involved in the fire. One was a garage building, with a restored Corvette inside and other collectibles at 360 Gus Pennell Lane. The other was a vacant home at 444 Gus Pennell Lane.
Wind carried the flames to the east through the woods.
White said that, unfortunately, one department lost a set of firefighter gear including a coat, helmet, radio, and flashlight, after the fireman set the items down to walk the hilly terrain. Wind carried the fire over that area and flames ruined the gear.
Ellendale Fire Department was assisted by Bethlehem, Sugar Loaf, Taylorsville, and Hiddenite departments with apparatus. Little River Fire was on standby at Ellendale’s station. Alexander County Sheriff’s Office and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) assisted with traffic control. Ellendale and Hiddenite fire ladies’ auxiliaries, the Fire Marshal’s Office, and local Emergency Management members also responded.