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‘Everything is gone’: Fire at Catawba County home ruled arson, fire marshal says

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — Investigators in Catawba County believe someone intentionally set a fire that destroyed a home just north of Claremont.

Nine fire departments fought the fire overnight Thursday night along Aveena Drive. The departments were all called because the closest fire hydrant is some distance away, so crews had to ferry water to the home.

The home was destroyed by the flames, along with several cars.

The fire marshal’s office said nobody was home at the time the fire started.

“We look for anything that we can find that may lead us to a path or direction to determine who did this,” said Jennifer Lowrance, assistant fire marshal.

Neighbors described hearing an explosion and then stepping outside to see huge flames. They shared cellphone video with Channel 9 of the fire burning out of control.

Fire investigators said they believe the fire was an arson and they’re working with sheriff’s deputies on the case.

Chasity Pharr and Chad Fox could see the fire from the front door of their home.

“The whole house was up in flames,” Fox said. “Close to home, scary. We need some answers to what’s going on. What happened?”

Pharr said her cousin lived at the home and now only has what she was wearing last night.

“Everything. Clothes, pictures, sentimental stuff,” Pharr said. “Everything is gone.”

Pharr said the home has belonged to her family where her grandmother once lived.

“It’s pretty scary because it’s really freaking close,” Pharr said.

Deputies said they have not arrested anyone in the case but they do have a person of interest they’re looking for.

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