OKEECHOBEE — A home on S.W. 13th Avenue sustained an estimated $15,000 in damages due to a fire that apparently started in a front bedroom of the 1,200-square-foot home.
Firefighter/paramedic Lieutenant Zack Smith, from Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue (OCF/R), indicated his agency was dispatched Sunday, Jan. 24, at 7:25 p.m. to the home owned by Dalton Tyson at 1090 S.W. 13th Ave.
According to Lt. Smith, when the OCF/R units arrived there were heavy flames on the front porch and the connecting front bedroom. He went on to point out all of the occupants were outside the home except for the family’s dog.
Firefighters knocked down the fire at the front of the home, then entered the home through the back door. Once inside they shut off the main electrical breaker, then found the dog on a couch in the front room.
The dog was turned over to emergency medical personnel, added Lt. Smith.
“Upon arrival, firefighters found the northwest corner of the residence heavily involved in fire. As a result of the fire, the north half of the residence was destroyed,” said OCF/R Chief Ralph Franklin in a press release.
Lt. Smith went on to indicate that the “… homeowner stated they smelled smoke and discovered flames on a bed in the front bedroom before they evacuated.”
A report by Deputy DeMarcus Dixon, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), indicated Mr. Tyson and his family were outside the home when the fire started. It’s possible, continued the report, the fire was due to an electric blanket that may have been left on in the bedroom.
“No persons around the residence were injured as a result of the smoke or flames,” added Deputy Dixon.
The state fire marshal was called in to investigate the cause of the blaze.
Deputy Dixon also indicated in his report that the American Red Cross was on hand to help Mr. Tyson and his family.
The lieutenant’s report stated the fire was under control by 8 p.m., and the last unit cleared the scene shortly after 10 p.m.
Eleven firefighters responded to the blaze along with two fire engines, two water tankers, a rescue unit and an OCF/R deputy fire chief. The Okeechobee City Fire Department also responded with one fire engine.
An estimated $10,000 in damages was done to the home’s contents.
Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News