BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY -

Carteret County Fire Marshal Eddie Lewis believes mechanical failure of a truck in the middle bay caused a Sunday morning fire that destroyed the North River Volunteer Fire Department.

Initially, crews thought the fire may have been weather-related, but that was ruled out after further investigation and consulting with mechanics and insurance engineers.

Earlier this week, Central Fire Department in Lexington, NC donated a fire truck to the North River VFD.

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A Sunday morning structure fire that gutted the North River Volunteer Fire Station and destroyed the station's equipment. Fire investigators believe the cause of the fire is weather related.

The fire, which started at 5:36 a.m., destroyed the garage of the fire department as well as trucks inside. The fire started in the truck bay, according to fire fighters.

North River Volunteer Firefighter, David Ernest said he's devastated to see the station burn down.

"Looking at it now, it hurts me so bad. I just don't believe that something like that could happen, but that'll show you anything can happen," Ernest said.

Ernest has been with the fire department since it first opened about 30 years ago. He calls it his second home.

"This is a day I will never forget," Ernest said.

The station is a total loss.  We've learned the station did have insurance.

Beaufort Fire Department is overseeing the scene.

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Crews from Beaufort fire department are on the scene of a structure fire in Downeast Carteret County.

According to firefighters from the Beaufort Fire Department, initial reports were the North River Volunteer Fire Station was fully engulfed in flames.

The fire station is located at 893 Merrimon Road, north of Beaufort. As of 8:00 a.m. Sunday, flames receded but the fire station was heavily damaged.

It's unclear what started the fire or if anyone was hurt.