From The Ashes, A Center Reborn


Windswept flames from the ELC Wet Lab spread the blaze to the neighboring building

On the night of June 30, 2008, lightning flashed across the summer sky in Indian River County. The frequency and intensity of the electrical charges seemed most pronounced in the northern section of the county, and in the early evening firefighters at the Orchid Station on State Road 510 responded to a lightning-caused house fire in Sebastian. By 10 p.m., having successfully doused the blaze, they were on their way back to the station.

That’s when they spotted a large column of flame in the vicinity of the Environmental Learning Center, situated along the Indian River Lagoon a quarter-mile off 510. Residents in the vicinity later recalled seeing a huge lightning bolt about an hour before.

The firefighters immediately headed to the ELC where they found flames covering two-thirds of the roof of one of the elevated wooden structures on the campus. They called a “full alarm” and a total of five fire engines and 21 Fire & Rescue personnel responded. One of the officials on the scene also called Holly Dill, who has served as the Executive Director of the ELC since its beginning.

Read the entire article in the February 2011 issue

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