HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WECT) - Two homes and three boats were destroyed in Brunswick County Tuesday morning, after a fire that started in Holden Beach.
One house was burned to the ground, while a neighboring home was still standing but destroyed. Three boats parked in an empty lot next to the house were also burned.
Fire Marshal Scott Garner confirmed the fire took place on Star Fish Drive around 5 a.m. The cause is unknown at this time.
Authorities said there are paid firefighters on the island from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. After that, it's volunteers.
Chief Todd of the Tri-Beach Fire Department could not say how long it took for crews to get on scene, but several neighbors claim it took the fire department between 15 and 20 minutes to respond after the initial 911 call was made.
There is a volunteer station that was on the same block as the fire, but the fire knocked out power to the station preventing the bay doors from opening to let fire trucks out.
The chief says that technical issue would not have made a huge difference because the type of equipment needed was not housed at the station.
According to firefighters, no one was home when the fire started. Wallace Harrelson, who owns one of the rental properties that was damaged, said he was in Mann, South Carolina Tuesday morning when he received a phone call from his realtor.
"Alan Holden, the mayor here is my realtor," explained Harrelson. "He called and said he had some bad news, but it might not be as bad as it is for my neighbors."
Despite the damage, Harrelson said he's grateful his property is still standing.
Flames from the fire were so hot, four homes across a canal were damaged. Harrelson said those homes are at least 200 feet away.
Fire officials used several aerial apparatus to flow high volumes of water to both extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to any additional homes.
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