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Driver charged with DWI after car hits house, sparks fire

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A strange scene on Kenwood Avenue near Market Street in Wilmington after a car ran into a house and started a fire.

The house went up in smoke just after noon after a Jeep lost control and ran into the side of it.

One witness was enjoying a day off on her porch and saw the whole thing.

"I guess he just went right in between the houses right into the kitchen of the lady's house," Kelly Larue said.

She said what she heard after the crash was even more frightening than what she saw.

"All you could hear was the gas line going off. Then the house just exploded," Larue said.

The leaking gas forced neighbors to evacuate their homes until crews arrived.

"We do have the gas company on scene to secure the gas," Assistant Fire Chief Jon Mason said. "At this point we are keeping the fire fed by the gas under control and have controlled the fire in the structure."

Smoke from fire could be seen for miles and caught the attention of many people.

"We came driving around, and we saw smoke going across market street, turned in and saw all these fire trucks," a woman from Forest Hills said.

Police say the driver of the Jeep is Robert Castorena, 52, of Wilmington. He was not seriously hurt, but is charged with DWI. He's due in court tomorrow.

Witnesses say the homeowner's children were at school during the accident. Police say no one in the house was hurt.

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