KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. -- Several rental homes are completely gone after a fire destroyed them all early Sunday morning. The scene consisted of a few melted cars and a burned dune.
What remains, however, is more than 40 people's lives still intact.
"With that amount of fire and that time of the morning,” Chief Troy Tilley of the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department said, “most people are asleep, so we were fortunate not to have any fatalities or injuries."
The fire department said that the fire started around 4 a.m. Fire crews responded to the homes at the 2000 block of South Virginia Dare Trail.
The fire was so intense, Chief Tilley said several additional units were called in.
"Which brought in fire departments from the surrounding counties,” Chief Tilley explained, “Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Collington, Southern Shores and Roanoke Island."
He added the fire is still under investigation. He also credited the smoke alarms for saving those lives.
The Red Cross came in, helping 11 of the victims who were from out of town. Kimberly Mattox, the disaster program manager for the Red Cross’s Northeast North Carolina region, said they provided the victims with temporary shelter and resources.
"Most of them decided to go ahead and cut their vacation short and go home,” Mattox said. “We have closed the cases; we've done all that we can do for them."
Meanwhile, Duke Robertson and his family arrived Sunday evening after the fire was out. They are from out of town and rent a home in the resort town so close to where the fire happened.
“With the wind blowing, this could've easily went down,” Robertson said. “This did get evacuated, but fortunately no damage here."
Robertson said the destroyed homes were built just over a year ago. Being so close, he and his family said they are thankful their rental was untouched.
"These are stick-built houses, and they will catch fire very easily,” Robertson said. “They'll build back and keep it going."