Firefighters respond to house fire in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The big plume of smoke could be seen for miles away as firefighters worked to extinguish the flames that engulfed a vacant duplex on Tuesday.

Eleven-year-old, Cyntia Tart lives directly across the street from where the fire started.

"It was kind of scary because I thought it was going to come over here," said Tart.

Towering trees that surrounded the home made it tough for crews to get their equipment close enough to fight the fire and the 90 degree heat didn't help.

"Yes, it makes it much more difficult. Although fire is going to be hot as it is -- whether it's winter or summer -- but it's the fact that when they come back out in the element of the heat it makes it much worse," said Chief Franklin Stowe of the Winston-Salem Fire Department.

Stowe said tires stored in the home helped fuel the flames.  He also said no one lived in the home. Neighbors said the duplex was a hang out spot for people in the neighborhood who liked to sit on the porch and drink.

"We didn't know a fire was started until my Aunt -- she came... told the people who was sitting on the porch that it was a fire and they just ran off the porch and my mama she called the fire department," said Tart.

But fire crews saw the smoke before the call even came in.  Dozens of neighbors like Tart were already there, watching in disbelief.

"The only thing that scared me was I thought it was going to come over here," said Tart.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames by 9 p.m. and reported that no one in the neighborhood was injured.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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