Ja-Net Raines was headed for her early morning shift at Lowe's when she spotted a fire near mile marker 16.8 of Funny River Road Wednesday morning.
"It was real bright and had orange sparks," Raines said. So Raines, who said she was a volunteer firefighter in California, contacted Central Emergency Services and headed to the fire to make sure everything was OK.
Mark Hite's house was not on fire, but a small storage building about 100 feet from his home was ablaze at about 4:30 yesterday morning. Raines said Hite was in bed while his shed was burning.
"He said he's a real sound sleeper," Raines said.
When CES reached the scene, the shed was "fully involved," according to Brad Nelson, CES deputy fire marshal.
The crew worked on the fire until about 7 a.m. Nelson called the shed a total loss with an estimated property value of $2,300. In addition, the storage structure is thought to have contained about $20,000 worth of goods.
"He definitely had a number of personal items in there," Nelson said.
CES could not determine what caused the fire, but investigation revealed it originated in an area with a heater.
Nelson said things could have been even worse if Raines hadn't responded.
"He (Hite) didn't know it was happening until the good Samaritan that happened to be driving by called in the fire and came by to see if everyone was all right."
Raines said her actions were the neighborly thing to do.
"We're all family out here. We take care of each other," Raines said. "You take care of other people and they take care of you."
Andrew Waite can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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