The City of Pembroke thought their wildfire was out, but Thursday it kicked back up again, and this time residents were forced to evacuate.
It all happened around 1:30pm Thursday. Jim Anderson, director of Bryan County Emergency Services, said, "We had a reburn right outside of the fire line." The reburn was from a fire that started Sunday on Swan Lake.
Smoke filled the sky in Pembroke. Roads were closed, 71 homes were evacuated and firefighters from all over came to Pembroke to help. At around 4pm, Bryan County Chairman Jimmy Burnsed declared a local emergency situation. Police rode up and down the streets telling residents to leave, but some wouldn't.
Mary Warnell is one of the residents who had no interest in evacuating. Her home was one of the many in the path of the wildfire. "This has been my home since 1960," said Warnell. "It was my parents' home and I have lived here since my parents passed away so it's special and I don't want to leave."
Warnell watched as firefighters soaked the trees in her backyard and her garage with water. The fire was in the field right behind her house, but Warnell was confident firefighters would protect her. "They're plowing the field there, harrowing to make a fire break," she said.
Other residents in the area couldn't help but to watch. Pembroke resident David Strickland's house wasn't in jeopardy but his friends' were. "I know all these people around here. A friend of mine was sitting out in his driveway and I stopped, went over and sat with him for a while. He had radios so we could hear talking on the radio. I sat there and listened with him to see what was going on," said Strickland.
Luckily no homes were damaged and the city attributes that to the hard work of the firefighters and the quick response time from surrounding agencies. As of midnight, the evacuation was still in place. Officials say they don't want to take any chances in the case the fire picks back up. The fire is 70 percent contained and officials are estimating that anywhere between 400 and 700 acres were destroyed.