WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An afternoon fire in Wilmington has left several people homeless. The heroism of firefighters, however, has one family counting their blessings.
Wilmington Fire Department and New Hanover County Fire Rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire at 16 Cypress Grove Drive around 4:00 p.m. Fire officials say people were reportedly trapped inside. Crews arrived on-scene to an active structure fire of a multi-residential complex, showing visible flames and smoke.
“I’ve lost everything,” said Ashley Connolly looking at the front door of her unit with firefighters entering in and out.
Connolly is one of 15 more residents without a home following the fire.
“There’s several residents in Wilmington tonight that don’t have a place to stay,” said Natosha Vincent with Wilmington Fire.
Several neighbors believe the fire was a result of fireworks being discharged around the complex. However, fire officials have not made a determination on what the official cause was.
“Maybe like ten minutes later it was spreading to the other house,” said Kwmane Allen who had to evacuate like several neighbors. “Then it ended up affected the other houses across it.”
One pet was rescued during the primary search, while the secondary searches confirmed that the building was clear according to Vincent. That was Connolly’s dog, Squeaky.
While rehabbing, MFF Farwell and FF Nelligan take a moment to pose for a picture with the cute puppy they rescued! #MansBestFriend @CityofWilm @NHCFR @RedCrossENC @WilmingtonPD @PRO_NHCSO pic.twitter.com/88JCE1P6Yh
— WilmingtonFD (@WilmingtonFD) July 2, 2019
“I’m so thankful he’s my emotional support right here,” said Connolly.
Ashley and her husband, Lawrence, believe it was the actions of their neighbor that saved the dog. They’ve owned him for less than a year and both were at work when their home caught fire.
“I saw that he was okay and that makes me so, so happy,” said Connolly. “He’s my everything, he’s my best friend, he’s my baby.”
In total, seven units were involved in the fire, displacing 16 people according to Vincent. The local chapter of the American Red Cross and New Hanover Emergency Management are working to provide assistance to those impacted like the Connollies. No injuries were reported.
“At least he’s safe. We will have a home soon. We will bounce back,” said Connolly.