Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fire Renders Melbourne House A Complete Loss

MELBOURNE, Florida --Brevard County Fire Rescue and Melbourne Fire Department crews were dispatched at 4:14 p.m. today for reports of a structure fire at a residence in the 5900 block of Old Dixie Highway in Melbourne, Florida. 


On arrival, firefighters reported finding a single story residence heavily involved in fire with flames through the roof.  The home was surrounded by heavy brush which posed a potential threat of fire spread 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.


The fire was reported by the homeowner, identified as James Bonner, 81.  Mr. Bonner 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.  He told officials that before he could dial 911 the flames were spreading quickly to other areas of the home. 


Mr. Bonner related that he is the lone resident of 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.  


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 are expected to be at the scene for an extended period of time mopping up hot spots.  The cause of the fire is under investigation by local fire inspectors.  


BCFR spokesperson Lt. Jeffrey Taylor added that it is 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.