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Raging Nassau County Fire Started by Man Burning Books

The most devastating and biggest wild land fire to take place in Nassau County since 1998 is believed now to have been caused by a man who was burning his trash, specifically paperback books. The fire, which destroyed two homes and nearly 700 acres of land close to Bryceville (a town close to Jacksonville) is now being termed the Garfield Road Fire. It began on Wednesday, and since then the emergency fire crews have managed to contain it by 80%. This is, obviously, to say that the fire is still ongoing and still poses a risk to individuals and their homes.

Annaliese Winter, a spokesperson for the Florida Forest Service, issued a statement on Wednesday night outlining the particulars of the case. According to her statement, the fire has been traced back to a single individual who was burning his garbage, specifically books. In the state of Florida, it is illegal to burn your household trash, and the Garfield Road Fire outlines exactly why.

The fire began to spread due to the prevailing winds and dry conditions in the area. After a few moments, it had stretched to five acres. The winds then caused it to spread a shocking distance in a short period of time. Residents in nearby neighborhoods were forced to evacuate their homes as the fire began to eat through backyards, gazebos, and eventually homes. Currently, two homes have been destroyed by the flames while 19 other structures (ranging from pool sheds to garages) have either been damaged or destroyed.

It is believed that the fire was a complete accident, but that is going to be small comfort for those families who lost everything as a result of one man’s poor decisions. Additionally, several of the fire rescue personnel were injured—albeit not seriously—by the intensity of the flames.

This fire is just one in a recent swath of fires that have been raging throughout Florida this year due to the unseasonably warm and dry temperatures, and fire marshals throughout the state are using visitors and residents to obey the strict no-burn orders that are in effect.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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