November 24, 2014


UPDATE:  No cause for Outer Beaches
fire has been identified yet

By IRENE NOLAN



Dare County fire marshal Steve Kovacs said today that he and the Dare County Sheriff's Office are still investigating the fire that extensively damaged the main office of Outer Beaches Realty in Avon in the early morning hours of last Tuesday, Nov. 18.

Meanwhile, Outer Beaches operations manager Bud Smock said the company has all essential services back and running.

"We're up and running as well as we can be," Smock said today. "It's business as usual."

Guests and homeowners should not notice any differences in services, he added.

The fire severely damaged the center part of the building, where administrative offices and the company's central computers and phone system were located.  Offices and two apartments on the west end of the building and the property management offices and check-in area on the east end received mostly smoke and/or water damage.

All systems were backed up, Smock said, and staff members have been busy getting them back in working order.

About 33 employees worked at the main office. Smock said the administrative offices have been relocated to a large house across the street from the offices.  Other services are being run out of the Outer Beaches Waves and Hatteras offices.

Reservation lines are up and working, but guests who are scheduled to check in at the Avon office should go to the Waves office instead.  Those renting a house in Hatteras village can still check in at the Hatteras office.

A reception for homeowners on Wednesday, Nov. 26, from 3 until 5 p.m. will go on as planned, but will be at the Waves office.

Smock also said that no decision had been made about whether or not the building, which is valued at $1.2 million, is a total loss. And he said that engineers are still looking at the building and deciding whether the entire structure will have to be torn down and then reconstructed or if part of it can be saved.



Kovacs said that he and sheriff's investigators have ruled out several possible causes for the fire, which started on the back -- or north side -- of the building.  However, he said they are still examining other possibilities.

"We will have a better idea next week," he said. "When there is a lot of damage, it's really hard to pinpoint one thing."

Kovacs added that the investigators have found no indication that the fire was deliberately set.

"We do not feel that it is a result of foul play," he said.


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