Families sift through the rubble of destroyed homes from Ocean Isle Beach fire

Ocean Isle Beach Recovery from storm and fires

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - It’s hard to look at. The homes have been left to ashes and rubble. The families said if it weren’t for the mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders, homeowners and vacationers might have been caught in the fire.

Hurricane Isaias has come and gone but the remnants of what happened during the storm will not soon be forgotten. The massive fire in Ocean Isle Beach took out four homes and damaged a few others.

“A fire... in a tropical storm?” said Lisa Westbrooks, her parents own the family home.

Westbrooks and her family were out of town when the fire broke out, but at first glance she says its heartbreaking.

“It’s devastating, heartbreaking, it’s a bad dream.”

Allred’s coast was the name of the house, a family home, built on years of memories. Many of them etched in memory, others, lost in the fire.

“We have pictures we’ve been trying to gather also but if they decide to rebuild, we’ll make more memories,” said Westbrooks. “But this is a bad memory. And maybe forget about 2020 totally.”

Four homes were damaged in the fire but thankfully nobody was home. Westbrooks says she can’t imagine what might have happened if they wouldn’t have heeded to calls for evacuation.

"As fast as it was burning, if somebody was sleep at that hour, there's no way you would've got out."

She keeps looking back, in disbelief of the damage caused to a home she’s known for so long. Wondering what if. Trying to salvage anything left behind. And thinking about how lucky everybody is to be safe.

As some of the families removed the rubble, they were surprised at what did make the fire. A bust of a dog, beach equipment, and turtle art.

Just about all of them have been left speechless from seeing the damage and so far none of them know what started the fire.

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