Brian Titus of Texas Township was burning brush in his backyard Wednesday afternoon when the fire got away from him.


Brian Titus of Texas Township was burning brush in his backyard Wednesday afternoon when the fire got away from him.
Titus says he was standing watch over the burn barrel when, “a piece of stick came out and caught the woods on fire,” he said. The fire left a blanket of black across his backyard, just five feet from his home at 605, Erie Heights.
Titus says he tried to beat the flames out with a shovel and a rake, but wound up running to his neighbors to call for help.
Next-door neighbor John Sholtis dialed 9-1-1 and grabbed his garden hose. “I hooked up my hose and was helping him out,” Sholtis said. “It was just too windy. It was moving too fast for one guy.”
Sholtis says his girlfriend was wetting down the ground towards their home. “It was coming across to us,” Sholtis said of the flames. “I’m glad I was home,” he said. “I’m glad I quit early today.” Sholtis says the fire department got there pretty quick.
Honesdale Fire Chief Stan Pratt says they had the fire knocked down in about 10 minutes. But he warned people not to burn on windy days. In fact, he said he’d be asking the Honesdale Borough Council to place a temporary burn ban on open burning, at least until things “green up,” he said. “Once things get green, that’s a whole different situation.”
Chief Pratt said people don’t understand that, “You can walk through a field and get your feet wet, but everything on top of that is dry. And with this wind, it just goes like crazy.
“The way it is now, we’ve got a long way to go before green-up,” the Chief said. The Chief said there’ve been a number of brush fires in the area, but Honesdale hasn’t had many. 
Along with a temporary ban on open burning, Pratt said he wants a ban on any unsupervised burning. “If you’ve got a fire going, you’ve got to be out there with it,” he said.
Pratt said about 15 Honesdale fire personnel responded. “Good job, you shovel guys,” he yelled across to the volunteer firefighters who’d patted out the embers with shovels.
Thanking the fire department, Titus said, “Thank you so much for your time and effort. It was greatly appreciated,” he said. “They did an awesome job.”