Officials: Electrical problem caused $150K damage in Ballantyne house fire

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The people inside a Ballantyne house that caught fire Tuesday afternoon had no idea it was burning. A neighbor who was driving by alerted the couple inside to the fire.

Sara Green was heading to the store when she spotted the heavy smoke coming from her neighbor’s home in the Ellington Park neighborhood.

The quick-moving fire had reached the attic and was already burning through the roof.  But before firefighters even got the call, Green went through the open front door and told the couple inside to get out.

“I pulled over to see if I could help or let them know or something, and since the door was ajar I assumed they did know,” Green said. “But they didn't. They were just trying to get some fresh air.”

More than two dozen Charlotte firefighters worked to bring the fire under control. While some attacked the flames from inside, others worked to keep the fire from spreading to two nearby homes just 30 feet away.

"We put water on the exposures to make sure we didn't have any extension,” Battalion Chief Jerry Winkles said.

Green said she called 911 and then ran back in to help the couple grab some computers, purses and other items before leaving.

“Thank God I happened by when I did so they got out safely,” she said.

On Wednesday, officials said the fire likely started from an electrical problem.

Firefighters said the damages are estimated at $150,000.