An early morning fire destroyed a home in the Gateway Mountain community on Wednesday.
At approximately 4 a.m., residents in the mountain development were awakened by several agencies responding to a structure fire at 992 Evergreen Drive.
Gateway Mountain is a private gated community of about 200 homes and cabins seven miles east of Old Fort.
Crooked Creek, Old Fort, P.G., Sugar Hill-Montford Cove, Broad River and Garden Creek fire departments, McDowell EMS, McDowell Rescue Squad, Emergency Management, the N.C. Forest Service and the McDowell Sheriff’s Office responded to the call.
Crooked Creek’s Assistant Chief Craig Davis said the occupants of the three-story log cabin had escaped the home by the time firefighters arrived. They were both taken to McDowell Hospital. Their names and conditions were not available Wednesday afternoon. Units also worked to extinguish a wildfire that struck as a result of the structure's blaze.
According to Gateway Mountains Safety & Security Committee Chair Jay Hein, responding units were on scene for at least four hours to fight the blaze and crews remained longer for mop up. Fire officials said the home was a total loss. The home had earlier been listed for sale for $459,000, according to a real estate website.
Hein said firefighters worked hard to keep the fire from spreading.
“We’re really glad that agencies from McDowell and Buncombe counties could respond as quickly as they did,” he said.
Hein said the family’s three dogs had not been located as of Wednesday morning.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Davis.
Sugar Cove fire update:
The Sugar Cove fire off N.C. 80 above Lake Tahoma, which began on Jan. 28, had grown to 220 acres and was 20 percent contained, forestry officials said Wednesday afternoon.
Approximately 133 personnel are working the fire. Structure protection is in place for homes and buildings on the south end of the fire area. No structures were threatened as of Wednesday’s update.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, fire line construction in preparation for burnouts was complete. If conditions allow, crews will conduct burnout operations to remove fuels between the active fire and the fire lines, taking into account weather, smoke and safety information. Areas around Marion and Pleasant Gardens could potentially see heavy smoke settling in valleys and low-lying areas overnight and into the early morning.
N.C. 80 remains temporarily closed to all but local traffic from Buck Creek Gap off the Blue Ridge Parkway to Little Buck Road near Lake Tahoma. The Woods Mountain Trail (TR 218) is also closed, with closures to include the portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway.