State: Controlled burn sparked Eastpoint fire that destroyed 36 homes

State: Controlled burn sparked Eastpoint fire that destroyed 36 homes

27 June 2018

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USA – EASTPOINT, Fla. (WCTV) — Glenn Woodall lost it all.

“I had a big shed behind my house, tools and everything. It all got burned up,” he said. “I lost everything; the stove, refrigerator, the whole nine yards. Washing machine, all of that. They need to do something.”

“They,” referring to the State of Florida.

Woodall says he had a feeling it was the controlled burn that caused the fire that wiped out his home on Wilderness Road.

“They need to straighten some of these people out around here and help them out instead of dodging,” he said. “Quit playing this dodge ball stuff and do something.”

One resident we spoke with said the fire skipped his home, but destroyed all of his neighbor’s.

“I don’t know the word for it, but it really hits me,” the resident said. “I want to know who’s responsible for trying to kill us all, basically. Everybody on this road and Ridge Road could’ve died, just like that.”

The resident says he’d noticed the controlled burn wasn’t fully controlled.

“They should be held accountable,” he continued. “There should’ve been somebody out there watching the fire. Even though it was smoldering, there should’ve been somebody out there watching that fire at all times.”

Pennie Bryant is also upset.

“We’re very hurt,” she said. Her house is damaged, as is her boat, truck and shed.

“My husband lost all his tools. We hear they don’t replace the sheds and stuff like that. That ain’t right,” she said. “They should have to replace everything.”

By: Associated Press | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 27, 2018

EASTPOINT, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s agriculture commissioner says a controlled burn by state contractors sparked a wildfire that destroyed 36 homes and burned more than 800 acres and officials have suspended the practice statewide.

Adam Putnam made the announcement Wednesday morning after an investigation by the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement.

The fire broke out late Sunday in the coastal community of Eastpoint near the historic town of Apalachicola in Florida’s Panhandle.

Putnam says his “heart goes out to those affected by this devastating wildfire.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement that a private company was contracted to burn 480 acres on June 18. The agency said 580 acres of private land separated the controlled burn from the Eastpoint neighborhood.

Controlled burns are used as a forest management tool.

The Florida Department of Agriculture tell us that the controlled burn was conducted by Wildland Fire Services, Inc. on behalf of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

We have reached out to Wildland Fire Services for comment and are still awaiting word back.


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