DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Durham Fire Department is trying to determine the cause of a Christmas Eve house fire on Spring Creek Drive. But neighborhood residents have another concern after reports of looting in the wake of the disaster.
Neighbor Escarlet Acco is taking precautions: deflating her Christmas ornaments and unplugging all the holiday lights -- mainly just out of fear.
Firefighters suspect the fire started on the porch of her neighbor's home. But they are not sure how.
"I'm really upset, really sad," Acco said. "Because it's a neighbor. We're really surprised about the house, fires, and everything."
Acco is bothered by the alleged looting of that home and others after the flames were put down. Lynette McLean, who was displaced by the fire in her home, said thieves took off with five of the family's dogs.
A sixth dog died in the blaze.
"It hurts because we are at our lowest right now, and people are still trying to take advantage of the little stuff that we do have left," McLean told ABC11.
Police have not verified the claim or other alleged burglaries.
Neighbors said people usually look out for each other in the community, but now they are not taking chances.
"Keep my cars and everything locked up," said Jackie, a neighbor who lives across the street.
Another neighbor told ABC11 they now want to become a licensed gun owner.
"Just in case someone comes to my home, I'll be able to protect my family," said Ben Robinson, who moved to the neighborhood last year. His home sits next door to the McLean's home, and also suffered damage.
"I'm going to definitely get cameras," Robinson stated.
Firefighters will be back at the home Thursday to determine how the fire started.
The family has a GoFundMe page. If you'd like to help, donate here.
Neighbors concerned after alleged looting of home destroyed by fire Christmas Eve