Orange County home is a total loss after fire

Orange County firefighters say a fire started just after midnight in the attic of a house in rural Orange County.

There were smoke detectors in the house, but not in the attic. The two people living there smelled smoke and went outside - they saw flames shooting out the roof vents.

“It's obvious the fire started in the attic and spread rapidly through the attic,” said Battalion Chief Billy Richardson.

Crews got there six minutes after the couple called 911. By then, the house was already half-engulfed in flames. This is rural southeast Orange County, and the nearest fire hydrant is a mile away.

“Out here, there's no hydrants. No water supply,” said Richardson, “so we had to use our water tankers, each one carries 3,500 gallons of water.”

50 firefighters were on scene, one of them hurt his hand, but that was the only injury. They say there was the potential for things to get much worse. In the garage were gas tanks, propane tanks, ammunition, and fireworks - all of which exploded, during the fire.

“They had several gas tanks in the garage for lawn mowers and that type of equipment, a propane tank in the garage and the porch for a barbecue grill, fireworks for New Year's Eve, that all went off at one time,” Richardson said.

Homeowners weren't hurt, but firefighters say the couple is devastated. “They’re doing well, of course they're very upset. The lost everything they had - a complete loss,” said Richardson, “they have family to help them out, and friends in the neighborhood giving them a place to stay, tonight.”

Fire marshals are trying to figure out exactly what sparked the attic fire, but they say the house is a total loss. Firefighters will be here throughout the day, Tuesday, making sure it doesn't flare back up.