The blaze originated in a ventilation fan above the garage, the homeowners said.

ORMOND BEACH — The Duncans built their house in 2007 to withstand a cyclone, so they were unafraid as Hurricane Dorian's outer bands passed through town Wednesday.

Two days after the storm roared by, the couple's home at 39 Crystal Circle was destroyed by a disaster they didn't see coming — a ravaging fire.

"I don't think the fire could have spread any faster if gas had been spilled on it," said 81-year-old Warren Duncan, a retired chemist who saw flames blowing out of a ventilation fan above his garage.

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Just as he noticed what was happening, a retired firefighter who had been driving by started banging on the front door beckoning whoever was inside to get out of the house as fast as they could. By the time they were out of the house, the entire attic was filled with fire.

Duncan got both vehicles out of the garage and his wife, June, got the cat safely out and grabbed her favorite Bible and a pair of shoes. Everything else inside the house was charred beyond recognition, the couple said. The property in 2018 was valued at more than $361,000, according to the Volusia County Property Appraiser's website.

The two sat across the street in lawn chairs watching from their neighbors' front yard as the fire kept burning. Duncan was wearing a pair of tennis shoes without laces. He had removed them earlier in the day because he had intended on washing the sneakers. They were the only shoes he could grab quickly and put on his feet.

Exhausted firefighters were sitting on the grass near the couple after they had fought for more than an hour to contain the flames. One was lying on his back out of breath while another was chugging water from a bottle.

The blaze was already "well involved" inside the house after the call came in around 5:46 p.m., said Jenn Elston, an Ormond Beach spokeswoman.

The fire "ran through the attic" quickly after it started and flames could still be seen coming out of the roof around 7:30 p.m., she said.

Warren Duncan said he noticed the fan above the garage was making more noise than usual Thursday, but wasn't too alarmed by it. Moments after having dinner Friday, Duncan noticed the flames and heard someone banging on the door almost simultaneously, he said.

The couple's son lives in the Hunter's Ridge subdivision about 10 miles from Crystal Circle, so the couple will live there until they find another home, they said.

"We trust the Lord," said June Warren, 77, a Bible teacher who lost all of her lesson plans in the fire.

"We'll be very inconvenienced for a while, but we'll be OK," her husband said.

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