A large fire early Tuesday morning destroyed a home on Cliffwood Drive in South Windsor.

According to fire officials, the fire began shortly after 3 a.m. at 133 Cliffwood Dr.

With flames shooting out of the home, it didn't take long for eyewitness Rachel Burnham and her family to realize what was happening just two doors down from their home.

When asked what was going through her mind at the time, she said "just call 911 and then ask them if we should wake our kids up and get out of the house."

They said no one was home at the time of the fire and no animals were inside.

"Interior access was not an option. So from the get-go, we did what was called a defensive attack, which means attacking the fire from the outside,” said South Windsor Fire Chief Kevin Cooney.

Cooney said police were the first ones to arrive.

“Home portion of the structure was literally fully-involved," Cooney said. "[It was] two stories with fire blown out of every window, fully-involved. Interior access was not attainable.”

Mutual aid was called in from surrounding towns.

Neighbors said they couldn't believe how quickly the fire spread.

”I was watching, the roof just sunk right into the second floor and then just a huge plume of flames come up," said Brian Dickstein, an eyewitness.

Dickstein lives across the street.

Officials said they've been in contact with the homeowner.

”It was so well-involved that had it been occupied, there wasn’t a whole lot of things we could have done anyways," Cooney said.

Fire officials said the homeowner was on vacation. While neighbors said they are relieved no one was hurt, they felt for them.

"We feel awful for the loss and all the memories and just everything that goes into a home and how long it takes to build a home," Burnham said.

”It’s horrible," Dickstein said. "I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like for them to come back. I just don’t know.”

Both called the community tight-knit and said they'll do what they can to help.

The fire marshal will investigate the cause of the fire.

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