A quick moving brush fire ate through 1.5 acres of a church’s side yard Thursday afternoon, surprising church officials and neighbors who watched as the low lying flames rushed through the dry brush as blustery winds pushed the smoke all over.
Crews got the fire at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 511 S. St. Phillips Street, under control before it damaged any structures.
The blaze apparently started when a man working on a trailer nearby threw a piece of metal on the asphalt, causing a spark that ignited some leaves, said Fire Chief Marty deMasi. Within seconds, the fire had spread into the church’s side yard.
Several residents grabbed shovels and tried to contain the flames until firefighters took over.
A priest at the church said they were getting ready to clear the yard, which they do twice a year. deMasi said they won’t have as much work to do this year.
The event underscores how easily fires can start and spread in Rim Country, he added. He encouraged homeowners to clean up their yards and do firewise improvements around their homes.