Sunday, March 3, 2024

Freeman Park reaches capacity, truck catches fire after getting stuck in sand

A truck caught fire on the north end of Carolina Beach on Labor Day and was extinguished by the fire department as crowds watched on. No one was injured. (Port City Daily/Screenshot from David Rishel video)

CAROLINA BEACH — The Town of Carolina Beach announced Freeman Park at the north end has reached capacity. As of 2 p.m. Labor Day, it will remain closed to incoming vehicular traffic until further notice.

About 30 minutes prior to the announcement, crowds on the beach witnessed a truck on fire after getting stuck in the sand while attempting to drive onto the north end. One bystander, David Rishel, recorded an 8-minute video of the incident and streamed it via Facebook Live.

Rishel told Port City Daily two females were in the vehicle — which he said looked relatively new, though he was unsure of its make and model. The driver revved the engine to attempt to dislodge the truck, but it began smoking. Both occupants were able to escape before the truck was engulfed in flames.

Tires can be heard popping in the video as the flames grow and smoke billows. First responders and the fire department show up to extinguish the fire about 3 minutes into the video.

“It only took about 5 to 8 minutes for it to burn down,” Rishel said of the truck. “I’ve never seen this in all my years coming here.”

Watch Rishel’s video here.

The Island Gazette, the town’s weekly paper, posted a separate video around 4:45 p.m., as shared by Laurie Etherington.

The Town of Carolina Beach did not note on its social media post announcing the park’s closure that it was due to the fire, only that it had reached capacity limitations — a normal occurrence during busy holidays and throughout the height of the summer season on Pleasure Island.

Anyone with questions about if or when Freeman Park will reopen Monday afternoon can call (910) 458-4614 for more information.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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