By Joe Johnson
Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services said it was investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a house outside of downtown Winterville Wednesday night.
No residents or firefighters were injured, but a deceased cat was found in the charred remains of the single-family dwelling in the 100 block of Winter Hill Drive, according to a departmental news release.
Firefighters responded to the scene upon receiving a 10:22 p.m. alarm for a structure fire and vehicle fire at that location, according to the release, according to the release, which noted that fire crews found a corner of the house and two vehicles parked nearby on fire.
After quickly extinguishing the flames, firefighters searched the house and located the deceased cat.
“No injuries were reported from the residents,” according to the release. “Crews worked to confirm there were no hidden fires and it had not extended beyond the area of obvious damage.”
Neighbors reported hearing explosions and possible gunshots coming from the house as it burned, but ACCFES Battalion Chief Nate Moss said those sounds were likely from vehicle tires bursting and windows breaking.
Moss said damage to the structure “is pretty extensive and will likely result in a total loss.”
He said investigators were at the scene Thursday to determine the fire’s cause and gather information about how many people had lived there and what living arrangements they made.
“We are sorry for the loss that this family is dealing with," Moss said. “Unfortunate incidents like these should serve as a reminder to make sure that everyone has working smoke alarms in their homes. You never know when a fire may occur at your home."