McIntosh Co. man describes close call with wildfire

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

MCINTOSH COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A McIntosh County man saw smoke from a nearby wildfire. Just minutes later his home was surrounded by 30 foot flames.

"We were lucky," said Don Sambursky, who was fighting back tears. "I never thought it would happen to me."

Sambursky said the events that transpired on Sunday happened so quickly. "The police came and knocked on the door and said we [are] going to evacuate."

Sambursky walked down the street to his neighbor's house, which was the closest house to  where the smoke was coming from, to see how bad it was.

"The smoke was maybe 100 feet behind their house, but no flames. We came back up here and we were thinking, well if it's going to be a little fire we'll take the hose and save the house," he said.

A few short minutes later everything changed. "The fireman came out and said, 'you got to get out. It's really going.' So we looked out in that direction and you could see the flames coming," he recalled.

Time had run out. They grabbed what they could and started loading up the motor home, finding themselves in more and more danger with each passing minute. "We see it on television, you have no idea until you live through it. When we were going out of the driveway and seeing the flames on both sides of us, 30, 40 feet high in the air, it was scary, just petrifing," he said.

In a moment, Sambursky found himself helpless. "We just got this place as our retirement, where we wouldn't have to do anything," he said. "And when we drove off, I thought we would never see it again."

But that wasn't the case. All Sambursky lost was some siding on his home, and his tools. "We were lucky, real lucky," said Sambursky.

McIntosh County EMA Director Ray Parker said the fire is pretty much contained. They estimate the fire destroyed from 500 to 1,000 acres.

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