WAXHAW, N.C. –- Investigators say someone purposely started a fire that torched a home in Waxhaw early Saturday morning.
By the time firefighters reached the house fire on Lillieshall Road, the home was already destroyed.
The blaze sparked early around 5:20 a.m. According to Assistant Chief Jimmy Kubach of the Wesley Chapel Fire Department, the fire was so hot it melted the vinyl off two neighboring homes.
Kubach told NewsChannel 36 the home at 901 Lillieshall Road was nearly 75 percent engulfed in flames by the time his crews arrived. It took them nearly 30 minutes to douse the flames after two bikers first saw the flames from Rea Road and came by to help.
Investigators think they found traces of accelerant and an incendiary device, but did not release further details.
Much of the damage happened to the rear of the house. Neighbors say the family who lived inside was on a vacation when their home burned to the ground.
"It was surreal," said one neighbor. "I've never seen a fire in real life but if you've ever seen the movie 'The Towering Inferno,' that's exactly what it looked like."
On Monday, neighbors said the father had returned to the home.
No arrests have been made and Union County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Ben Bailey said there are currently no suspects.
People who were saddened to see what happened to their neighbors are also nervous and scared after hearing that this blaze was intentionally set.
"Very uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. At first you think is it electrical? You say ‘I'm going to have someone come out to check my wiring.’ Then to hear it’s arson, it's very unnerving, very unnerving."