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“This thing was an inferno!” Residents react to massive fire in Carolina Beach

Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 10:23 PM EDT
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Shock, fear, and confusion are just a few of the emotions felt by Carolina Beach residents as they witnessed a fire engulf part of the Paradise Cove condominium complex.

“I was not quite sure what it was,” says Mariah Steiger, who watched as firefighters battled the flames after hearing about the blaze. “All I could see was an intense amount of smoke throughout the sky from over at my house. So I drove by a little bit and had no idea how severe the fire actually was.”

For Chad Kirk and his family, who live in another building in the complex, the rapid spread of the fire left them scared wondering how much time they had to evacuate their house.

“By the time I can tell my wife and my kids to get out of the house it literally was an inferno,” said Kirk. “As we were coming down the steps we could feel the heat from the flames.”

Troy Englehart was working from home when he heard a commotion outside and realized the severity of the situation.

“It was a pretty intense experience,” said Englehart. “I mean as soon as I walked outside you would expect to see a little fire and it was just billowing out of the front of the building here.”

Neighbors say they witnessed their fellow residents jump from their buildings to survive. Fire officials say four people were transported to the hospital.

“We had three jumpers on the property, four people were transported total. At this time, no life-threatening injuries are reported,” said Carolina Beach Fire Chief Alan Griffin.

As crews tried to put out the fire, Kirk tried to get back into his home, realizing that although there was no damage from the flames, the smoke was cause for concern.

“Somebody let me back in my condo and the smell inside there is horrendous,” says Kirk. “I don’t know if they’re going to be able to get that out, it all may be totaled.”

As residents watched on, prayers were said for their neighbors and the first responders, fire fighters, and EMS workers.

“I just hope that all those good-hearted people are safe,” said Englehart. “I hope their pets are safe. I hope nobody is severely injured; honestly, my blessings and prayers go out to each and everyone of them.”

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