Lack of fire hydrants to blame for long-burning house fire, Lake Wylie firefighters say

Firefighters say there were no fire hydrants to battle a massive Lake Wylie house fire that broke out Wednesday evening.

The homeowner, his fiancé and their pets were able to escape the fire, but there is just nothing left inside

“It was a big fire. These houses are wood. They go up I guess like a match stick,” neighbor Carol Butler said. 

She watched as her neighbor's house on Carroll Cove Road went up in flames around 6:45 p.m. Now, only a shell remains. The homeowners lost everything. 

“He has no shoes. It happened that fast, he had no shoes.” 

LINK: Couple, pets escape destructive fire at Lake Wylie home

The homeowner ran out in his bare feet. His fiancé grabbed the dog downstairs and the other dog Dixie was outside the house. They found ‘Tigger,’ their cat, Thursday morning, but two other cats are still missing. 

The couple was supposed to get married in June. The woman lost her wedding ring in the fire, and her fiancé lost his father's Purple Heart. 

“Your life is in your house if it's not in digital form or a safety deposit box, and you can't put animals there and you can't put photos all over the place, so I think they lost everything.” 

There are no fire hydrants along the road, so the fire chief says firefighters had to get water from a hydrant in the neighborhood next door and from the Charlotte Fire Department’s water boat set up on the lake. 

“We needed a permanent water supply and it takes a little time and manpower to get that set up, and it started initially, but it didn't happen that quick because of logistics,” Fire Chief Don Love said. 

Love says it's not unusual for a road not to have fire hydrants. He estimates 40 to 50 percent of the Bethel Volunteer Fire Department's coverage area does not have hydrants. 

“Somebody's got to pay for it. It doesn't go in free-- that's burying lines [and] setting hydrants,” said Love.

Investigators have not released a cause of the fire, but they say it does not appear to be suspicious.