Hamlet man naps while burning trash, awakes to find property aflame

By: By Gavin Stone - Staff Writer
Gavin Stone| Fire fighters with the Hamlet Fire Department put out the flames in Lauder Pate Quick's shed behind his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.
Gavin Stone| The fire pit where Lauder Pate Quick burned his trash before taking a nap. Quick said that a large hole in the metal screen he put over the fire to keep the burning trash from escaping was not there when he first lit the trash.
Gavin Stone| Lauder Pate Quick, right, watches as a Hamlet fire fighter attempts to salvage a metal box from inside Quick's charred shed at his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.
Gavin Stone| A member of Hamlet Fire and Rescue puts out fire embers in the trees next to Lauder Pate Quick's home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.

HAMLET — A man who took a nap “like a fool” after setting fire to a pile of trash awoke to find his shed engulfed and his goat pasture mostly charred.

Lauder Pate Quick, 79, of Hamlet said he put his unbagged trash in a fire pit under a metal screen cap that was “old and rusted.” Then, he said, he took a brief nap. When he awoke about 10 minutes later, he saw the fire had spread over about an acre of his property off U.S. 74 next to Grassy Drive.

Once the first was put out, Quick said the cap had a hole it hadn’t had before.

Hamlet Fire Department received the call at 3:53 p.m., according to Chief Calvin White. White said the fire burned for about 15 minutes. Its plume of smoke could be seen from as far away as the intersection of South Long Drive and East Broad Street in Rockingham.

“It doesn’t take as long as people think” for a fire to spread, White said, especially as the weather becomes drier near March.

“March is the busiest time of the year for brush fires,” he said. “This is the worst one we’ve had (so far this year).”

Quick did not break any laws by burning his trash the way he did, White said.

Assistant County Ranger Matt Parker issued Quick a warning because this was the first time he’d lost control of a trash fire.

“We like to help people out on the first time,” Parker said.

Quick said he lost four lawn mowers and a new generator, along with most of the items in his shed and under an adjacent awning. No animals were in the goat pasture — only low, dry grass. No one was injured in the fire.

Quick did not have an estimate of damage, saying only that the generator alone cost about $500.

The Hamlet Fire Department, Hamlet Fire and Rescue, and the N.C. Forest Service responded to the fire.

“Everybody needs to be very careful (when burning trash) this time of year,” White said.

Gavin Stone| Fire fighters with the Hamlet Fire Department put out the flames in Lauder Pate Quick’s shed behind his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6915-1.jpgGavin Stone| Fire fighters with the Hamlet Fire Department put out the flames in Lauder Pate Quick’s shed behind his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.

Gavin Stone| The fire pit where Lauder Pate Quick burned his trash before taking a nap. Quick said that a large hole in the metal screen he put over the fire to keep the burning trash from escaping was not there when he first lit the trash.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6913-1.jpgGavin Stone| The fire pit where Lauder Pate Quick burned his trash before taking a nap. Quick said that a large hole in the metal screen he put over the fire to keep the burning trash from escaping was not there when he first lit the trash.

Gavin Stone| Lauder Pate Quick, right, watches as a Hamlet fire fighter attempts to salvage a metal box from inside Quick’s charred shed at his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6932-1.jpgGavin Stone| Lauder Pate Quick, right, watches as a Hamlet fire fighter attempts to salvage a metal box from inside Quick’s charred shed at his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.

Gavin Stone| A member of Hamlet Fire and Rescue puts out fire embers in the trees next to Lauder Pate Quick’s home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6904-1.jpgGavin Stone| A member of Hamlet Fire and Rescue puts out fire embers in the trees next to Lauder Pate Quick’s home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Tuesday.

Gavin Stone| Fire fighters spray water on the smoldering remains of Lauder Pate Quick’s tools and equipment that was under an awning attached to his shed behind his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Monday.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6921-1.jpgGavin Stone| Fire fighters spray water on the smoldering remains of Lauder Pate Quick’s tools and equipment that was under an awning attached to his shed behind his home off of Highway 74 by Grassy Drive on Monday.

Gavin Stone| A Hamlet fireman and a member of Hamlet Fire and Rescue put out the flames in and around Lauder Pate Quick’s fire pit.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_IMG_6930-1.jpgGavin Stone| A Hamlet fireman and a member of Hamlet Fire and Rescue put out the flames in and around Lauder Pate Quick’s fire pit.

By Gavin Stone

Staff Writer