Fire keeps many away, others worry about their homes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire keeps many away, others worry about their homes

April 19, 2007

Ware County -- Many of neighborhoods remain closed, especially along Highway 122 and near the Ruskin Elementary School.  One homeowner we talked to Thursday saw her home threatened, but watched as the shifting wind may have saved their it.

From Kay Smith yard's you can see one of the wildfires burning seven miles away, but Tuesday night it was much closer. "It looked like it was just about 50 yards from us at one point," she said.

Thick black smoke filled their backyard and lungs. "It's just horrible, you can't breathe in other words, and you panic, and you think that you are worse off than you probably are at the time."

A shift in the winds may be all that saved their home. "Just all of a sudden you could see if just turn  and go back toward the Ruskin School."

The Smiths have been lucky enough to stay in their home and avoid the flames, others are still displaced.

"We need people to stay out of their homes we know it's difficult being out of your home for so long  and a lot of cases people not even having a change of clothes , but this is a dangerous situation," said James Ginn, Ware County Public Information Officer.

Officials say the area around Ruskin Elementary is pretty well scorched.  Local firefighters were able to protect the school but the entire woods around it at one point was engulfed and they say it could take up to a week to air out the school because of heavy smoke damage.  The fire has destroyed at least 18-structures, mostly homes.

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