Window a/c unit sparks early morning fire

CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A window mounted air conditioning unit is believed to be the cause of a fire that destroyed a Vanceboro family's home early Tuesday morning.

Vanceboro Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Van Voorhees said that crews from Vanceboro, Little Swift Creek and Fort Barnwell responded to the fire at the house on Piney Neck Road at 2:30am.

The house was fully engulfed by flames when crews arrived.

Chief Van Voorhees said 7 people were inside the house when the fire started, including 4 adults and 2 children. They were woken and escaped safely thanks to a smoke detector.

One resident told WITN's Elizabeth Bateson that they tried to put the fire out with a hose to no avail. Someone ran to a neighbor's house and called 911.

"Around about 2:30 this morning, my girlfriend was hollering that the house was on fire, so we got up, saw the living room was on fire, she got all the kids up, and got them out the house," Noah West said.

Van Voorhees says the fire started from the a/c unit on a living room window. It's unclear whether it was an electrical fire or if the unit malfunctioned.

It took firefighters two hours to get the blaze under control. The home is considered a total loss.

The American Red Cross is helping the family.