Patrolling Wrightsville Beach Police officers were the first to report the house fire at 108 Water St. around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, after smelling smoke from the flames.
On the scene of the fire around 7:30 a.m., Wrightsville Beach Fire Chief Frank Smith said the fire damaged the northwest exterior of the bottom floor and the L-shaped enclosed garage, but there was only smoke damage to the second- and third-floor living areas.
Firefighters battled the blazes from the time they arrived on scene until around 6:30 a.m. when the all-clear notice was given. No firefighters were injured during the incident.
A neighbor from nearby Corbett Street was walking around 7:30 a.m. and said he woke when the fire started by what sounded like a rumbling whoosh.
Smith said the sound was likely the propane tank on the side of the home venting out and feeding the fire. The tank was not the cause of the fire, however, Smith said.
Smith said he could not estimate the monetary damage to the house at the time, but was working with city and county fire marshals to determine the cause and damage.
The house is a second home for Raleigh residents Francis and Rebecca Colanna, and no one was at the house during the fire.
Smith said the homeowners were notified and were en route to assess the damage.
While he was relieved no one was occupying the home at the time, Smith said someone living there could have lessened the effects of the fire.
“It is a double-edged sword sometimes because it is good when no one is there but then also it is left unattended,” Smith said.