Local families displaced by home fires

Dec. 24, 2012 @ 11:59 PM


SANFORD — Three local families will spend Christmas without a home as the result of several weekend fires, according to the local American Red Cross. 

Lee County Red Cross Coordinator Michele Bullard said her agency was working to respond to three fires during the weekend, displacing a total of 17 people including five children. 

All three families are staying in hotels throughout the holiday and, with the assistance of the local Salvation Army, the children will have some presents to open today. 

"The Salvation Army has been great to work with," Bullard said. "We are going to ensure these kids have a little something to open for Christmas."

One woman was injured in the Sunday fire at the 500 block of Peppermill Road, Sanford, after she was forced to jump from her second-story window, Bullard said. The fire displaced 10 people, including four children, she said, and the family is still in shock. 

"It was a total loss," Bullard said. "It's devastating."

It is believed the cause of the fire may have been an overloaded circuit, Bullard said. 

"People need to be so careful around the holidays," she said. "It's something we keep preaching."

Don't use alternative forms of heat, don't over use plugs and have a safety plan with a meeting place in case of a fire, Bullard said. 

"Make sure everyone gets out," Bullard said. "What I saw (Sunday) was devastating. Over the Christmas holiday please be safe and have a plan."

A family of four was displaced after a fire destroyed their home, located at the 500 block of Oakwood Avenue, early Saturday morning. The family is staying in an area hotel, Bullard said, and the cause of the fire is unknown. 

The third fire occurred on the 500 block of Bracken Street Friday from a kerosene heater, Bullard said. There was minimal structure damage, but the thick black smoke destroyed several items in the home. The family of three met with their landlord Monday and should be able to move in sometime after the holiday. 

The families, who were not identified, could not be reached for comment.