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Lack of hydrants nearby may have doomed house to fire

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As the shell of the home still smolders in Porters Neck, neighbors and firefighters are openly discussing how things could have turned out differently.

Despite the fact that the home on Bald Eagle Lane sits just yards from the Intracoastal Waterway, it was a lack of water that ultimately led to its demise.

“We woke up this morning to fire trucks next door,” neighbor Jim Spicuzza said. “Lots and lots of fire trucks.”

It’s a homeowners nightmare that quickly went from bad to worse as the flames spread.

“Several fire trucks responded to the call and started to spray water and ran out,” Spicuzza said.

Firefighters then had to fall back to Plan B, defensively fighting the fire while waiting for help to arrive.

“We have a plan where we use out tenders and our tankers,” New Hanover County Deputy Fire Chief Matt Davis said. “It’s a little more manpower intense and takes a little more time to set up our operations.”

Spicuzza said, “It was probably a half hour to 45 minutes later before additional water was brought on another truck to put the fire out.”

Because homes on Bald Eagle Lane run on well water, there were no hydrants to hook up to. Firefighters had to haul water more than a mile to the home. It’s a problem all involved say needs to be quickly extinguished.

“We have worked with the community to get fire hydrants here,” Davis said. “There is a plan to do that. I think that stands maybe a year out.”

Spicuzza said, “Had the fire department been able to hook up and have multiple trucks here spraying water the fire would have been out a great deal earlier.”

Investigators say the house is a summer home owned by a family from Greenville, and no one was home at the time of the fire.

Crews are still working to determine the cause of the fire.

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