Orange County

2 dogs killed in fire that damaged Chapel Hill home

Firefighters battle Wednesday's blaze at a home on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.
Firefighters battle Wednesday's blaze at a home on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. Special to The Herald-Sun

Investigators are looking into a fire that burned through the roof of a UNC rental house Wednesday morning on Homestead Road in northern Chapel Hill.

Two dogs died in the blaze, but no other injuries were reported.

The fire broke out around 8 a.m., and firefighters arriving on the scene said it was “fully involved.” Emergency crews blocked traffic on Homestead Road from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Seawell School Road until firefighters brought the blaze under control around mid-morning.

Homestead Road was reopened to traffic a short time later.

The fire burned through the second story and roof of the two-story ranch-style house, which is located down a gravel drive and surrounded by trees. The narrow parcel of land is next to Orange County’s Southern Human Services Center campus and backs up to the Carolina North tract.

The house is one of several that the university holds as rental property, UNC spokeswoman Kate Luck said.

Luck noted the tenants were not students, faculty or staff, but was not able to provide their names or other information. Luck referred questions about the cause of the fire and whether there were any injuries to the Chapel Hill Fire Department.

County and university records show UNC has leased the property to Michael and Denise Lopez, the owners of Lopez Construction Services, since at least 2012. The Lopez family signed a new, three-year lease in May 2016, records show.

Luck said UNC Environment, Health and Safety, the Chapel Hill Fire Department and the State Bureau of Investigation are investigating the cause of the fire. The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in, because the property is owned by the state, she said.

The damage to the house also is being evaluated, she said.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb