A view from the residence next
door shows what remains Wednesday of the burned-out house, owned by
J. Mac and Beverly Mason.
(Photo by Bobby Haven/The Brunswick
As he walked through the ash
littering his front courtyard, John Ellis shook his head in disbelief.
“I am a fortunate man,” he said
Wednesday, picking black debris from a pot of flowers.
Tuesday night he watched in horror as
Glynn County firefighters battled a blaze at a neighboring house on St. Simons
Island and fought to protect his.
Wednesday morning, the Glynn County
Fire Department launched an investigation into the fire that destroyed the house
at 103 Strachan Lane, near the village.
Fire officials said the fire erupted
at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, causing an estimated $1 million in damages.
The home is owned by J. Mac and
Beverly Mason, owners of J. Mac’s restaurant on St. Simons Island. The family
wasn’t home when the fire started.
The house was destroyed, but
firefighters were able to save Ellis’ home next door at 101 Strachan Lane.
Ellis said flames reached as high as
four stories, and that heat from the blaze melted paint off the sides of his
balcony walls. “I was scared to death,” he said. “I just knew my house was gone.
“The firemen did a magnificent job.
They were so nice, and kept telling me it would be OK.”
Only a charred portico and blackened
steps remained of the Mason’s three-story house.
Glynn County Fire Department
personnel pour water on hot spots inside the burned-out remains of
the house at 103 Strachan Lane Wednesday.
by Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News)
After containing the blaze,
firefighters stayed on the scene Wednesday morning to extinguish hot spots.
“The roof collapsed in on the
building, so there could have been a lot of hidden places you couldn’t see still
burning,” said Al Thomas, Glynn County fire chief.
He estimated that more than 40
firefighters responded to the fire, including volunteer and off-duty personnel.
With five fire engines and two aerial
trucks, firefighters attacked the monstrous inferno with water from all angles.
Their plan of attack worked. The fire
didn’t spread and there were no injuries.
“We were up all night,” Thomas said.
“It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a fire this big.”
John Eblen, a photographer from
Akron, Ohio, was photographing his wife on the St. Simons Island pier when he
heard sirens from fire engines.
When he turned around, Eblen said he
saw smoke and watched as an orange reflection danced across the ocean waves.
With the click of a button and turn
of a lens, he began snapping pictures.
“Before you even saw the fire, you
saw the smoke,” he said. “I’ve never seen a fire like that before.”