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Cause of Lake Norman house fire might not be known for weeks, fire official says

Because of the magnitude of the fire, it could be several weeks before investigators are able to determine the cause of a blaze that gutted a $3 million waterfront house Tuesday on Lake Norman, Iredell County Deputy Fire Marshal Thomas Moore said Friday.

The fire at 102 Brownstone Drive in The Point community in Mooresville left about 10 percent of what had been a five-bedroom, 8,700-square-foot house owned by Jeff and Stephanie Arnold, Neel Brawley, deputy chief of the Lake Norman Volunteer Fire Department, said this week.

Only the five-car garage remained intact, Brawley said.

Moore said damage to the house and contents totaled about $5 million.

The fire was reported by Danielle Palarchio, who was house-sitting for the Arnolds while the couple vacationed in Cancun, Mexico, Moore said.

The first firefighters to arrive couldn’t see the house because of heavy smoke, Moore said.

Shortly after firefighters arrived, the upper floors of the home were falling into the lower section, which Moore said created a safety issue for firefighters entering the home.

“Due to excessive heat and flames inside the structure being a safety issue, firefighters chose to use a defensive attack from outside,” Moore said.

Fire boats on the water and engines on land fought the fire.

Moore said the fire was “aggressive” and was enhanced by lake-driven winds. “A natural gas line was feeding fuel to the fire and had to be secured by firefighters,” he said.

The American Red Cross was dispatched to the home to provide food and clothes to the house sitter, Moore said.

Marusak: 704-358-5067; Twitter: @jmarusak
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