Neighbor on Mint Hill house fire: 'It was spreading so quickly'

MINT HILL, N.C. — Firefighters spent hours battling flames and smoke at a Mint Hill home early Wednesday morning.

Multiple fire departments from around the area, including tankers from Union County, were sent to help fight the raging fire at the home on White Cliffs Drive, near Brief Road.

"It was really quick. The flames, once they started, they just completely engulfed the house," neighbor Doyle Hopkins said.

"I looked out the window and called 911 and ran across the street, banged on the door, hoping if someone was in there they would wake up," neighbor Victoria Potts told Channel 9.

[PHOTOS: Multiple fire departments battle raging Mint Hill house fire]

The fire chief said the woman who lived there wasn't home at the time.

Neighbors told Channel 9 the homeowner is a grandmother who often kept her grandchildren there. They believe her daily drive to the gym or her family saved her.

"It was a miracle that nobody was sleeping in the bedrooms upstairs because they would not have made it out of that house," Hopkins said.

The fire chief said the fire started in the garage and the flames spread up the vinyl siding of the two-story home until they reached the attic.

"It was spreading so quickly. I've never seen anything like it," Potts said. "By the time it was engulfed, flames were feet above the house. It was crazy."

The flames quickly spread through the house, leaving only the frame standing.

Two family dogs were killed in the fire. Firefighters said they died in the garage, where the fire started.

Neighbors told Channel 9 they are already promising to step in and help the hurting family who lost everything.

"I own a company and I do remodeling of houses, so maybe I can get in and help them,” Hopkins said. “Give them what they need. If they need food, we'll give them food."

The fire chief said it could take days to figure out how the fire started. He told Channel 9 that investigators were looking at the possibility that a space heater or a problem with a water heater started the fire.

The Red Cross has stepped in to help the homeowner.

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