Swift-Moving Blaze Guts Melbourne Home
By Space Coast Daily // January 24, 2013
Residence A Total Loss
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – A swift-moving fire destroyed a home in Melbourne late Wednesday afternoon.
Lt. Jeff Taylor of Brevard County Fire Rescue said firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire at a residence in the 5900 block of Old Dixie Highway in Melbourne about 4:14 p.m. Wednesday.
Upon arrival, Taylor said crews reported finding a single-story residence heavily involved in fire with flames shooting through the roof.
The home was surrounded by heavy brush which posed a potential threat of fire spreading to at least one nearby home to the south.
Firefighters quickly positioned one engine to address the primary fire occupancy and a second engine at the threatened home as more units continued to the scene. Hand lines were quickly deployed and firefighters were able to knock down areas of fire that posed the greatest threat to the surrounding brush.
Taylor said the fire was reported by homeowner, James Bonner, 81. He told officials that he had just returned from a day of running errands and was still outside when he noticed smoke and flames coming from one corner of the home.
Before he could dial 911, the flames were spreading quickly to other areas of the home.
Bonner told firefighters that he resided alone in the home and had no insurance.
He will be staying with relatives in the area and did not request additional assistance. The home and its contents are considered a complete loss.
Besides the obvious danger of fire and toxic smoke, firefighters also had to contend with downed power lines in the home’s yard which were quickly de-energized by Florida Power & Light representatives.
Taylor said the homeowner also told firefighters that the home contained two cylinders of acetylene which he used in making jewelry and repairing cars on the property. As stored, acetylene is unstable and highly flammable and is most often associated with welding.
Fire crews were at the scene for an extended period of time mopping up hot spots and the cause of the fire is under investigation by local fire inspectors.
It remains unclear whether or not the acetylene stored in the home may have played a role in starting this fire or causing it to spread so rapidly.
Brevard firefighters were assisted at the scene by members of Melbourne Fire Department.
Brevard County Fire Rsecue units on scene included Engine 47, Engine 62, Engine 80, Engine 81, , Truck 48, Haz-Mat 48, Rescue 80, Brush 81, District 40, Fire 6 and PIO1.
Melbourne Engine 77 also responded to the fire.