CORNELIUS, N.C. -- The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fire Marshall has determined the origin of a fire that gutted a lakefront home in Cornelius.

About 80 firefighters from Huntersville, Davidson and Cornelius Fire Department battled the two-alarm fire at the home in the 21300 block of Country Club Lane, Wednesday evening.

Next door neighbor, Rhonda Freese called 911, just before 8 p.m.

It breaks my heart, said Freese.

Freese was watching a movie, when the power went out. She looked out her window to see a orange glow, about 10 feet away, coming from next door.

You could see probably 30-foot flames over the top of the house, which was a really tall house, she said.

The couple renting the home was out of town, and left the night before. Neighbors say, they were planning to return home before Christmas.

To have anyone lose their house, this is just devastating to them, especially so close to the holidays, said Freese.

The rear of the home sustained the most damage. Fire investigators say the blaze began in the right, rear corner of the home near greound level. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The house was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters had the fire under control in less than an hour, and quickly kept the flames from spreading.

MEDIC transported one Cornelius firefighter to Carolinas Medical Center for minor injuries.

We know he was on the outside the structure so, I don't know if it was a brick veneer falling on the outside.

He wasn't actually in the fire conditions at the time of the injury, said Deputy Chief, Kevin Fox, with the Cornelius Fire Department.

The home is a total loss.

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