Fire Safety at the Catnap

One of the things folks may wonder about at the Flying Catnap by the Sea is “why so much emphasis on fire?” There are fire extinguishers on the landings, a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen, a central fire alarm system that sends automatic distress calls, and a general prohibition on grills with flames anywhere near the building.

Well, it’s because of several things:

  1. First, it’s important to realize that many of the Maritime West units are unoccupied at any given time. A fire that gets started might not be noticed until things are very bad indeed.
  2. Second, there is a lot of combustible material around. The building itself, of course, but also mulch in the flower beds, the grass that holds the dune in place, all that.
  3. Third, Bogue Banks tends to be windy so fire tends to move quickly.

There is a recent example of how important this is: on the night of April 11th, a fire started in the dunes immediately adjacent to a home. The elements for a bad result were in place: at night after bedtime, dry natural vegetation, and a strong wind blowing toward the home.

Only the homeowner getting out of bed at just the right time saved the day. The Pine Knoll Shores Fire Department arrived on the scene just as the flames were starting to melt the eaves of the home and put the fire out before major damage was done.

Fire Picture credit: Brian Kramer

The cause of the fire is unknown but a plastic cigar-tip was found nearby.

The message to all of us is the need for fire safety on Bogue Banks in general and at the Flying Catnap in particular. We have  highly combustible fuel sources all around us: dune grass, pine straw,  wooden decks, landscaping mulch … the list goes on. It is all going to burn if it’s lighted when it’s dry. What can start the fire? Lots: fireworks, smoking materials, “kids playing with matches” and adults “laying with fireworks,” campfires, and hot coals from a grill are all potential candidates.

As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus  used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.


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