SURF CITY, N.C. (WECT) – Firefighters spent hours Sunday working to get control of a large fire that broke out on Atkinson Road near South Shore Drive in Surf City.
Surf City Fire Chief Allen Wilson confirmed crews from Topsail Fire, North Topsail Fire, and Pender County were all working the scene after they were called around 6 p.m.
A tweet from Surf City police advised people to stay away from the area while emergency responders work.
Surf City Fire Chief Allen Wilson said, “when our units arrived on scene there were at least three [homes] already burning. Our crews went to work quickly to try to stop the progression of the fire. Unfortunately, the fire did spread to approximately six units.”
Photos sent in by viewers showed multiple buildings engulfed in flames. Dramatic video shows flames curling over the roof of a three-story house and plumes of black smoke coming from the structures as the fire burns.
“I was going to save my boat. That was my first feeling and then I realized that people were trapped at the end of the peninsula,” said witness Tom Haether. “So I went to the end of the Peninsula, docked there, another boat showed up a little while later and we were able to get people off that wanted to leave and I got three people and a couple of dogs.”
Haether also said he witnessed an explosion during the fire.
“It was very hot. When I took the boat past it, it was amazingly hot, and just as I passed, one of the propane tanks blew up on one of the buildings and blew debris all over the canal. I got out just in time,” he said.
Another witness said his first reaction was to stop and pray as he watched the fire spread.
“Pray, first thoughts. And saying, ‘I hope no one was in the house,’ and then we saw the next house with just a little bit of fire on it and in 10 minutes or less, that [house] was fully in flames,” said Kevin Snyder.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Stay with WECT for the latest.
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