CORNELIUS, NC (WBTV) - "It's one of our old houses, it's been here quite a while," Mark Robbins, who works down the road, says.
Robbins says he and several other neighbors got two people out of the home safely before fire crews arrived.
"I saw someone running down the street, and she said call 911 there's a house on fire," he says.
"You're there for a reason and there's nothing you can do about it, so you just work around it," Captain EJ McCormick of Cornelius Fire Department says.
In this case, that proved a packed house, combined with heavy smoke, making navigation a challenge for crews inside.
"We slow everything down, move a little bit more methodically," McCormick says of navigating through cluttered spaces.
Fire crews now reminding all homeowners to keep clear walkways inside – in case of emergencies, like this one.
"You need to know which way you're going out and it should be clear of obstacles," McCormick says.