WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - A fire gutted a Wrightsville Beach business near Johnnie Mercer's Pier Friday afternoon.
According to dispatch, the fire was first reported at King's on E. Salisbury Street around 12:15 p.m.
Numerous firefighters responded to the scene as heavy smoke and flames poured out the business.
Town Manager Tim Owens said crews managed to contain the fire at King's and prevented it from spreading to other buildings.
Dispatch officials said there have been no reports of injuries at this time.
Wendy Hunt saw the smoke, and rushed into the burning building to see if anyone needed help.
"[The smoke] was heavy and it was billowing," Hunt described. "And so it was hard, you couldn't… when I took my first breath you couldn't breathe that in, it was stagnating. So dropping to where there was clearer air was the smart thing to do."
Police Chief Dan House said there's no reason to believe that the fire is suspicious. An SBI arson investigator has been brought in to examine the scene, but House said that's usually standard procedure.
New Hanover County Fire and Rescue officials said an excavator is being brought in to tear down portions of the structure so firefighters can get better access to any remaining hot spots. It's unclear if the entire building will need to be demolished.
Owens said the property owner did not have any insurance on the building.
Several Wrightsville Beach residents noted that watching King's burn to the ground hit close to home.
"It's kinda real sad to see an icon of this beach actually catch on fire and leave… and be burnt basically to the ground," David Wheatly said.
"King's Beachware has been there for a really long time, I used to come here when I was a little girl," Kim Robinson explained. "And I think it's really a hit for the beach to lose a historic building of this significance."
Mobile users can see photos from the scene here.
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