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Longtime iconic spaceship house in Outer Banks destroyed by fire

The UFO-looking structure in Frisco caught fire on Oct. 19, 2022.
Frisco VFD
via Facebook
The UFO-looking structure in Frisco caught fire on Oct. 19, 2022. It had been a longtime fixture and tourist attraction in the Outer Banks.

A beloved house in Frisco, North Carolina, that looks like a spaceship — yes, really — went up in flames on Wednesday night.

Is paranormal activity in the Outer Banks to blame? It’s unclear.

Frisco’s fire department hasn’t said what caused the fire that burned up and destroyed the iconic “Frisco UFO,” also known as the "Frisco Futuro House."

The fire department did share photos of the burned flying saucer-shaped structure on its Facebook page Thursday morning with a brief note: “Sad to report, Frisco lost a piece of history last night. The ‘Spaceship’ is no more. Thank you to all the Firefighters for a job well done!”

No one was harmed in the fire and it remains under investigation.

According to the Island Free Press, the fire was reported around 10:06 p.m. on Wednesday night. Volunteer firefighters from departments in Frisco and Buxton extinguished the flames within hours.

The house had been a fixture in Frisco and a roadside attraction for visitors to the Outer Banks for more than 50 years. It was built from a kit that was sold in Playboy Magazine in the 1970s, according to PBS North Carolina, and had been a beach cottage in Hatteras. Later, it was used as a restaurant, a meeting space for a local girl scout troop, office space and a flea market.

It moved to 52186 Morriss Lane — just south of milepost marker 66 along NC Highway 12 — sometime around 1996.

In 2017, James Bagwell owned the property the UFO-shaped house stood on while Leroy Reynolds dressed up like an alien and entertained visitors. The two talked about fixing up the out-of-this-world building and turning it into a museum. They also later publicly sparred with Dare County leaders over its compliance with modern building codes.

"I cannot find an engineer to certify that spaceship," Bagwell told the Virginian Pilot in 2017. "I either have to move it, or it's going to sit there and rot.

Online property records say the land is still owned by Bagwell Realty Frisco LLC.

“There’s some kind of alien connection and it is a hoot—it just pulls people in,” Bagwell told PBS North Carolina in 2017.

According to CoastalReview.org, Frisco’s Futuro house was one of nearly 100 built around the late 1960s and early 1970s that were designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. Most of them were about 13-feet tall and 26-feet wide, and were made out of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic. In Playboy Magazine, they were advertised as “portable playhouses.”

The Facebook post from the Frisco Fire Department with burned images of the house had nearly 500 comments Thursday afternoon and more than 3,000 shares.

Said one commentor: “My family always made a point to stop and take a look around it. So sad.”

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.