Condos destroyed by fire brought many memories

By on January 11, 2013

The ruins were still smoldering 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.

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)

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 oddly wilted.

Three people 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 was renovated two years ago. (Dare County)

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 Tilley 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.

Tilley 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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Easy Tech

January 14, 2013 9:29 am

The man (with his girlfriend) barely got out in time…another minute and the stairwell would have been impassable…needless to say, they lost everything. Stop by Staples…Chris and his gal could use some household items going forward…

marylou lotz

January 14, 2013 6:48 am

thanks for the info on the name…fires are the glad no one injured.


January 13, 2013 6:35 pm

Marylou, Admirals View is not far from the 7 Cs. We have stayed there also.

David Perrot

January 13, 2013 9:08 am

Marylou, yes it has always been known as the Seven C’s. It was named by the Developers whose last name was Creech and yes…there were seven of them.

OBX vacationer from NY

January 12, 2013 4:37 pm

It was the “Seven C’s”. Our family had vacationed there every summer for many years. It was more than a building, it was our second home (although we were only renters) and the people (many who, like us, rented the same week every summer) there had become like family.


January 12, 2013 1:56 pm

Just a heads up it was two women and a man living in the condos not three women. Also great pics.

marylou lotz

January 12, 2013 9:08 am

Was this always the name of the condo? Is it near Admirals View which i quite similar?


January 11, 2013 4:42 pm

Excellent coverage. I would also like to compliment your report for including a photo of the structure before the incident. It’s always very helpful for those of us trying to picture the unit when we’re reading or hearing about the event.

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