Firefighters from Craven, Jones , and Lenoir counties responded to a house fire on North Oak Street in Dover.
Officials said they got the call around 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Firefighters said seven fire departments were dispatched to the house. Fire officials say it took almost two hours to contain the fire but it took even longer to put out the hot spots inside the house.
Investigators said the owner of the house, John McCleese, was inside of the house when the fire started. They said he smelled the smoke and quickly got out.
Neighbor Queenie Johnson said she has lived across the street from McCleese for more than 15 years. Johnson said she was relaxing in her house when McCleese ran over and started banging on her door.
"He was saying can I use your telephone can I use your telephone. I have a fire at the house call 911," she said.
Captain Tyler Whitney with the Dover Fire Department said his department was the first group on the scene.
"When we got here we really didn't know what we had until we actually made entrance into the structure, and the fire automatically jumped into the attic. Then we had a bigger thing on our hands than what we thought," he said.
Whitney said all the different additions on the home and the fence surrounding it made it difficult for firefighters to fight.
"it was very hard to make access to the hot spots to begin with because the house was so set out in different areas," he said.
Investigators said the homeowner did have two dogs but they were not harmed.
Firefighters said the fire started in the back of the house. Investigations said the house is a total loss and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.