Starke Family Loses Home And 5 Dogs To Fire
STARKE - Dirt and debris is about the only thing left. "A passerby traveling down state road 230 east of starke called 911 to report a house on fire. With flames coming out of the roof and above the treeline," says Michael Heeder with Bradford County Emergency Management.
A double wide trailer home in starke became engulfed in flames. The family was not inside when it happened as they were away for the holiday. The fire broke out at about 4:30 in the morning and while there was no one in the home at the time it happened. There were pets inside, five chihuahuas perished. The family tells me the dogs were hiding under the bed before the toxic smoke got to them.
While the family was away, the pets were being checked on by a relative. The family would not talk to me on camera as they were so distraught by their loss. They do tell me, two of their cats made it out alive. While the cause of the fire is not known yet. Michael Heeder with Bradford County Emergency Management says families should take extra measures when leaving their home for multiple days.
"Secure all potential sources of ignition. Check your stove, check your irons, check any other appliances that may have been left on... Including coffee makers. To assure that you don't have a smoldering fire that could result while you're gone," Heeder said.
The family tells me the fire started in their bedroom where they say they left two alarm clocks plugged in. Something heeder says leaving larger appliances plugged in is a big no no.
"You also want to make sure that anything that could become a cause of a fire is checked... The lint trap on your dryer. Any extension cords that are plugged in. You want to make sure that all of these are unplugged or turned off again to make sure you minimize the risk of fire in your absence," Heeder added.
The family says they will never leave their pets behind again, when they're on vacation. Since the cause of the fire has not been confirmed yet. The Florida State Fire Marshal's Office has been called out to investigate the case.
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