Signpine resident Celestine "Tina" Brooks has weathered two floods, receiving water damage in her home from Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and Tropical Storm Ernesto in 2005.
Now, her property that sits alongside Adams Creek has been scorched from Saturday’s brush fire that burned hundreds of acres in northern Gloucester. The miracle to the story, however, is that even though her home was completely encircled by fire, it was spared, thanks to the efforts of local firefighters.
Brooks said she was out in her yard Saturday just after 1 p.m. when she smelled smoke. Thinking it was from a neighbor’s woodstove, she wasn’t immediately alarmed. However, when she looked up a little later and saw plumes of white smoke across the field that were drawing closer and closer to her property, she immediately went inside and called 911.
"I couldn’t see any fire then," Brooks said, "but I smelled a lot of smoke and I saw a hel-
icopter circling the area." That helicopter, according to Gloucester fire chief J.D. Clements, was a Life Evac helicopter that was one of the first to spot the blaze.
"I ran into the house to put a few things in a suitcase," Brooks said, after the dispatcher told her to leave the area. "No sooner did I put a few things together did I hear the fire chief banging on my door telling me to get out."