Firefighters battle Wake house fire in bitter cold temperatures

From staff reportsJanuary 30, 2014 

— Firefighters from at least five departments used a string of water tankers to battle a stubborn house fire in bitter cold Thursday morning at 4908 Birchleaf Drive in Wake County's Swift Creek area.

The blaze broke out at about 5:30 a.m. and brought units from Swift Creek, Garner, Apex, Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh.

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the fire in the $800,000 property or efforts to stop it.

Because there is no municipal water supply in the area, firefighters had to set up a shuttle system in which tankers filled with water at the nearest available water supplies and dumped it into a temporary tank.

The tank in turn fed pumpers and hose lines being used by firefighters inside the two-story house, where fire was burning across the roof.

The scene became dangerous because water on the ground immediately froze, and commanders asked for help from the state Department of Transportation to spread sand so trucks could get traction to move in and out of the fire scene.

The temperature was reported at 8 degrees in Raleigh at 7 a.m. Thursday.

The house, which tax records show was built in 1998, sits on almost 4 acres of land and is at the end of a long driveway near the intersection of Birchleaf Drive and Penny Road, north of Lake Wheeler.

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