CLAYTON — In the early hours of a frigid morning, flames ripped through the attic of a one-story home in a rural area off Covered Bridge Road, destroying the home, and injuring a firefighter.
There were two adults and three teens home during the fire at 877 Bobbitt Road. None of them were injured.
The fire department received a call about the fire one minute before 1 a.m. on Sunday. Travis Price was one of 35 firefighters on the scene.
After crews began to bring the blaze under control, Price went inside the home for “overhaul,” to find any hot spots or hidden fires. He had a flashlight so he led the crew. Knowing there were weak spots in the floor, he walked carefully. But, he took a step onto a soft patch in the floor, and immediately realized it was unsafe.
It was too late. His foot went through the floor, and so did his body. For four minutes, Price was trapped.
“To me it seemed like an eternity,” Price said.
Since the floor near him was unsafe to walk on, the crew he came in with couldn’t help him.“It was definitely one of those ‘oh crap!’ moments,” Price said.
He said for a split second he thought of his wife, and his two children. But then his survival mode kicked in and the training he had gone through helped him know what to do. He immediately activated his Personal Alert Safety System on his air pack. A Rapid Intervention Team came to his aid, using a ground ladder to safely pull him out through a window.
Price injured his arm, but it was not severe. He was not transported to the hospital.
Fire Chief Lee Barbee said the incident is an example of why the training the firefighters do is so important. Referring to Price’s accident, Barbee said, “We focused on that a lot in the last few years, not only in Clayton, but countywide.”
Though the house was on fire, the water was freezing. Temperatures on that early Sunday morning were below 32 degrees. When firefighters on the porch used their hose, they saw the mist at the mouth of it turn into icicles, while their toes went numb.
The fire marshal has not been able to determine the cause of the fire due to the amount of destruction, leaving behind little evidence. It has been concluded that the fire was accidental and was started in the attic. The family has a wood-burning stove, but the stove was located on the first floor, so it was not near where the fire started.
Family stays with relatives
The one-story home on Bobbitt Road belongs to Deborah and Jeffery Crider. The couple was at home with two of their teens, and a Korean exchange student when the fire started. It was an alarming experience for the exchange student.
“I wanted her to experience America, but not this way,” Deborah Crider said.
They are staying with family in the area. Few of their belongings could be salvaged from the home.
Three of their pets have been recovered so far, including one dog, a bird, and a cat. The family is hoping their other cat will show up soon.
Fire departments from Archer Lodge, Eastern Wake, Garner, Cleveland and Wilson’s Mills also responded to the scene.