Residents help crews stifle flames

By Katie Demeria

Four residents helped firefighters prevent a four-acre woodland fire from reaching two nearby homes Saturday in Frederick County.

North Mountain Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Jason Hagenmayer was responsible for coordinating the effort at the 4711 Back Mountain Road scene, according to Fire and Rescue Captain Matt Taylor.

“He was the first person on the scene,” Taylor said. “He and four people with rakes who showed up were able to stop the fire from getting to the houses.”

The four who helped were nearby residents, Taylor added.

“It took approximately three hours,” he continued. “And by the time it was all said and done, it was about four acres. It threatened two houses, so it was pretty significant.”

The cause of the blaze is still unknown and being investigated by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

“With the wind and everything Saturday, it was perfect for a fire,” Taylor said.

The area impacted was a mixture of brush and trees. Taylor said conditions have been perfect for fires over the past several days. The National Weather Service issued various warnings last week, urging individuals not to start fires.

Taylor said Hagenmayer and the civilians were eventually helped with a bulldozer from the Virginia Department of Forestry, which created a fire line around the perimeter. Crews then used brush trucks to apply water to the flames.

“[Hagenmayer] was really the credit for this, he did an outstanding job of getting control of the situation quickly, he should be commended for that,” Taylor said. “[He and the civilians] were able to get it stopped very quickly, this was before fire trucks got there.”

North Mountain Fire and Rescue crews were assisted by other Frederick County units, units from Hampshire County in West Virginia, and support from the City of Winchester, Taylor said.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com