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Fire hits house in unfinished Apex development

Flames had fully engulfed a house in the L'Hermitage subdivision in Apex by the time firefighters arrived early Monday. Fire Chief Mark Haraway said the cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but investigators believe it is of suspicious origin.

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APEX, N.C. — Police and fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of an early morning fire that hit a vacant home in an unfinished Apex subdivision Monday.

Apex Fire Chief Mark Haraway said that a passing motorist called around 3 a.m. about the fire in a house in the L'Hermitage at Beaver Creek subdivision, between Olive Chapel and Caley roads, off N.C. Highway 55.

The two-story house was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived, Haraway said. About 30 firefighters from the Apex, Cary and Fairview departments put it out. Wake EMS also responded, but no one was injured.

The 3,500-square-foot house's roof and second floor collapsed. The house will be demolished, because it's been deemed a fire hazard, Haraway said.

The fire appears to be suspicious, he said. Investigators waited until daylight to search for evidence of the cause.

"Because the house was vacant, because there were no utilities to house, it would not appear that there's any reason to think that it would be an accidental fire," Haraway said.

The house is owned by Diversified Communities, a New Jersey-based developer. Calls to a number for the company have not been returned.

The developer abandoned the L'Hermitage project about a year ago due to the economy, leaving behind unfinished and unoccupied homes, Haraway said. Two units are occupied, and police roped off the area in an effort to secure it.

Authorities are always concerned about people breaking into and living in vacant homes as cold weather approaches, Haraway said.

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Stacy Davis, Reporter
Jamie Munden, Photographer
Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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