The fire off Hwy 115 is now nearly 100 percent contained. 3WC News spoke with Nathan Gatlin of the NC Forest Service this morning. The wildfire that began yesterday around noon was monitored overnight. About 45 acres were on fire southeast of Wilkesboro off N.C. 115. The fire was apparently started by someone burning debris. One firefighter suffered minor injuries Thursday when the top of a dead tree being cut down with a chainsaw broke off and hit him. He was treated and released at Wilkes Regional. Just after dark last night, the Forest Service indicated that fire was about 75 percent contained with fire lines. Due to certain conditions such as low humidity, warm temperatures and dry conditions, Gatlin said that firefighters remained on scene overnight mainly for house and structure protection. Gatlin reports this morning that no structures were damaged and that two inmate firefighting crews are on site today to do mop up of any remaining hot spots.
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The Forest Service is also dealing with another nearby forest fire that is 50 percent contained. The Whites Creek fire in the southern end of the Linville Gorge in Burke County had grown to about 2,750 acres and is considered 50 percent under control as of yesterday afternoon. That fire, reported March 16, is burning near Shortoff Mountain in the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest.
The two brothers who died in the tragic house fire Wednesday night off Little Elkin Church Road have now been identified as Alexander Antonio Fonseca, age 6, and Yandel Fonseca, age 4. The parents are Antonio Fonseca and Sofia Corona Hernandez. As 3WC reported yesterday, Wednesday night the Wilkes County Communications center received a call to a structure fire at 431 Little Elkin Church Road. According to Fire Marshal Kevin Bounds, Wilkes Deputy Joel Mathis was on scene within 3 minutes and tried to rescue two children from the house fire before succumbing to the smoke. Other Emergency personnel arrived to find the two young brothers still inside the mobile home. CPR was started and the children were transported to Hugh Chatham Hospital where both boys were pronounced dead. Deputy Mathis was treated for smoke inhalation at Wilkes Regional. Bounds said the cause of the fire is listed as accidental as it started from an electric issue with a refrigerator.
One person was injured in a two car wreck yesterday afternoon on Hwy 421. Elidora Billings of Wilkesboro was making a left turn from Sonic parking lot onto Hwy 421. Billings failed to see approaching traffic and pulled in front of another vehicle driven by Pamela Cunningham of Chocowinity, NC. Cunningham was taken to WRMC by Wilkes EMS for treatment of her injuries. Billings was charged in the wreck with unsafe movement.
Happy Birthday NC Guard. The N.C. National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion (NCNG RRB) will open up a new recruiting station today at the Northlake Mall in Charlotte. This new site will expand recruiting efforts in the greater Charlotte-Mecklenburg area and help increase public awareness of the NCNG across the state. The NCNG RRB is a nationally rank program over the last ten years. Today, March 24th is also North Carolina National Guard’s 354th birthday. The militia, which later became the NC National Guard, was established by the Carolina Charter of 1663.
Wednesday night at 10:56pm, the Wilkes County Communications center received a report of a structure fire with entrapment at 431 Little Elkin Church Road. According to Fire Marshal Kevin Bounds, Deputy Joel Mathis was on scene within 3 minutes and tried to rescue two children from inside the house fire before succumbing to the smoke. Other Emergency personnel arrived to find two small children, 4 and 6 years old, still inside the mobile home. CPR was started and the children were transported to Hugh Chatham Hospital. Both children were pronounced dead at the hospital. Deputy Mathis was treated for smoke inhalation at Wilkes Regional. Bounds said the cause of the fire is listed as accidental as it started from an electric issue with a refrigerator. The names of the children have not yet been released.
Some property was sold and some given from the County to the Town of Wilkesboro during the Commissioners’ meeting this week. Mayor Mike Inscore, Town Manager Ken Nolan, and Councilman Russ Ferree all of Wilkesboro were at the County Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday night. The County owned three-fourths of the CJPP or Criminal Justice Building on Main Street. The Town owned one-fourth. County Commissioners agreed to sell their portion of the property to the Town for $45,000. The Town of Wilkesboro agreed to assume at no cost the ownership of the Old Jail from the County and to incur all costs in tearing down the Old Jail or redeveloping the property. The County agreed.
There is yet another funny money report that is linked to two other recent incidents. Wilkesboro Police were contacted by Lowes Foods regarding a fake 100-dollar bill that was used at the store on March 19 to purchase 18-dollars in groceries. Using video surveillance, store management and Police were able to determine a suspect. They have a description but not a name of the man who passed the counterfeit bill. The serial number on the bill linked it to two other funny money cases. On March 20, BB & T Bank found two similar counterfeit 100-dollar bills in overnight bank deposits from Save More on Hwy 421 and Tyson Foods Chicken Store on River Street. The fake cash has been seized and the investigation is continuing.
The deadline of March 31 is approaching for students to apply for an all-expense paid scholarship from EnergyUnited to attend summer basketball camps. One young man will be given a scholarship for the Roy Williams Carolina Basketball Camp in June at UNC Chapel Hill. One local young lady will be given a scholarship for the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp in June at NC State. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in the fifth, sixth or seventh grade during the 2016-2017 school year. Applications accepted through March 31 at www.energyunited.com/sports-camp.
The American Red Cross issued a call for platelet and type O negative and AB blood donors after severe winter weather in some parts of the country caused about 250 Red Cross blood drives to cancel in March, resulting in more than 8,500 uncollected donations. Platelets, type O negative blood and type AB plasma are three of the most in-demand blood products by hospitals. Eligible donors can learn more, find a donation opportunity and schedule an appointment by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).