Firefighters battle blaze at home of Panthers coach Ron Rivera

CHARLOTTE (WTVD) -- Firefighters put out a fire at the home of Carolina Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera in south Charlotte early Monday morning.

WSOC-TV reports crews responded to the house on Heydon Hall Circle just after 4 a.m. and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the structure.

Rivera told the station the family was awoken by smoke detectors and everyone got out safely.

"You are looking at a large house with damage to the roof and attic area," Capt. Rob Brisley, a Charlotte Fire Department spokesman, said at a news conference. "Anytime you are faced with a fire and your family is displaced it is significant for the homeowner and it is significant for the family. We are just grateful that there are no injuries."

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but early indications suggest the fire was accidental.

"The challenge with this large house was this fire had escaped to the roof area and it required more firefighters and extra hoses to contain," Brisley said. "The fire department was able to control this fire in about an hour but we have a long morning ahead of us. The primary focus will be taking care of the family and their needs along with investigating the fire."

The Panthers were not scheduled to practice Monday. Rivera is to address the media Monday as he usually does.

The Panthers play Saturday in an NFC divisional playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. The fire comes two days after the Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-16 in an NFC wild-card game, Rivera's first postseason win in his four seasons in Carolina.

This is the second significant off-the-field problem to hit the Panthers in less than a month.

Quarterback Cam Newton was injured in a two-vehicle accident Dec. 9 and was hospitalized overnight with two fractures in his lower back. Newton missed one game but was able to return the following week.

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