Condos destroyed by fire brought many memories

By on January 10, 2013

View from the south shortly after the building collapsed. (Rob Morris)

County Fire Marshal Steve Kovacs and property manager Jeff Shields look over the remains Friday. (Rob Morris)

Fifteen oceanfront condominiums in Kill Devil Hills were consumed Thursday by a huge fire that burned for almost 12 hours.

The first alarm came at about 6:45 p.m. as flames from the building quickly rose above the 35-foot rooflines of nearby houses. The intense glow of the fire could be seen from miles away.

On Friday morning, owners and property management of The Seven C’s joined fire officials looking over the remains, which were little more than a smoldering heap of charred wood.

The ruins wer still smoldering Friday. (Rob Morris)

A melted piece of an ice maker and the partially burned pages of a book scattered in the sand were among the few clues that the condos had hosted vacationers for 30 years.

The fire’s heat left the plastic case of an untouched fire extinguisher at the pool house eerily twisted.

Three women staying in one of the condos were the only occupants at the time of the fire, said Kill Devil Hills Assistant Police Chief Dana Harris. They escaped unharmed.

Condo owner and board member Lissa Matthews said many renters had been repeat vacationers for years at the individually owned units.

“So it’s a little more wide-reaching than just the homeowners,” added Jeff Shields of Seaside Management, which handled rentals.

Firefighters working on the south side of the building. (Rob Morris)

Video by Russ Lay.

The building had been renovated about two years ago with new decks, siding and windows. Each unit was two bedrooms and two baths, Matthews said.

Kill Devil Hills Fire Chief Troy Tillett said Friday that no cause has been determined yet. Investigators from the Dare County Fire Marshal’s office and Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk fire departments are looking into it, he said.

One fire fighter was taken to the hospital Friday morning for an ankle injury.

Tillett said he was concerned about secondary fires from heat and cinders blowing west from the oceanfront. While some dune grass ignited, only minor, superficial damage was visible on a house next door.

A large crowd gathered as police closed off N.C. 12 and crews from fire departments in Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, KDH, Colington, Nags Head and the N.C. Forestry Service worked on containing the fire.

But the flames quickly consumed the wooden structure, and within a half hour it had collapsed.

Also reporting were Russ Lay and Sam Walker.

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February 4, 2013 4:57 pm

So sorry to hear! Spent our honeymoon there 10 yrs ago this August as well as June 2005 and was thinking of coming back down this year. Any plans to rebuild? Ever find out what caused it?

Susan Miller

January 15, 2013 12:15 pm

We too have rented in 7Cs annually for many years. The location, the owners and our fellow repeat vacationers are what we’ll miss so very much. August 2013 just won’t be the same. Regardless of where we vacation this summer, I know we’ll be back too. Blessings to Lissa, Jack and Jessica Matthews, Craig and Patti Langman and all the other owners.
The Miller family, Millers Maryland

OBX vacationer from NY

January 11, 2013 6:35 pm

Our extended family has rented units in this building for many years. Our hearts are broken tonight. We LOVED Seven C’s! More than the building and it’s awesome location, it was the owners and the renters that were there year after year. We will definitely be back after they rebuild.

Kudos to the firefighters who protected the nearby buildings.

Miss Faith

January 11, 2013 4:58 pm

So sad for the owners that lost these little ocean front jewels, but glad everyone was safe. Thanks to all our local fire companies for their great work! I don’t even want to imagine how much damage could have been done if the fire had spread. Not for nuthin’, anyone that had something negative to say about the Foreman’s Building controled burn for training, but exercises like THAT are the reason our fire fighters are able to react so well in situations like THIS!

Civility on OBV Please

January 11, 2013 1:13 pm

Glad to hear no one was hurt.


January 11, 2013 12:59 pm

Firefighters did an awesome job protecting surrounding properties.


January 11, 2013 12:41 pm

Doing a fundraiser is a wonderful idea since it was only 3 people living in the complex. They lost everything they owned! No cell phone, car keys, clothes, I can’t even begin to explain! Went to give them a couple things last night and its just so sad!

Laurianne Freeman

January 11, 2013 12:24 pm

Thank you Outer Banks firefighters for all your hard work, dedication and sacrifices to keep that fire contained. It is so heroic to respond to a fire and I commend you highly for your job well done. If a fundraiser is established I would like to be involved.

Joanne Smith

January 11, 2013 10:06 am

How about doing a fund raiser for the people that lived there and lost everything.


January 11, 2013 8:34 am

wow bud… dont know why you would say such.. dont think you would say that if it was yours or if someone you cared for was in the way of the fire.. good job to all involved

Sally Valentine

January 11, 2013 7:04 am

Oh, no! This is the place where I had my honeymoon back in ’84. I’m sad to see it was destroyed! I hope the firefighters are okay, and that the people that escaped didn’t lose any pets or valuables.

Amanda Griggs

January 11, 2013 12:23 am

To think I was just leaving COA to Point Harbor and saw this the way home.. I hope everyone is doing well :<


January 10, 2013 10:26 pm

Praying for these firefighters.


January 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Great job by the KDH, Kitty Hawk, Colington, Southern Shores and Nags Head Fire Departments in controlling a huge fire that could have easily destroyed adjacent buildings.

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