Williston fire leaves 3 families homeless

Published: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 1:22 a.m.

WILLISTON - A Sunday afternoon house fire across from Williston High School left 10 people in three families homeless. No one was injured.

The fire was reported at 4:53 p.m. in the rental housing, a longtime local landmark owned by J.N. Hale. An office and storage area connected to the house as well as a beauty shop next door were also damaged. No dollar estimate of the damage was available late Sunday, but firefighters said the damage was extensive.

"We have the fire marshal investigator on scene and so we'll wait to see what they find for the cause," Williston volunteer fire chief Lamar Stegall said.

Lacey Rios, 16, was the only member of her family at home when the computer she was working on unexpectedly shut down.

"I thought it was maybe the breaker, so I went back to the breaker box and that's when I saw the fire," Rios said. Her mother and stepfather were on their way home from shopping with Savanah Rios, 10, and had stopped for gas a few blocks away when they saw fire trucks and smoke.

"We really got back fast when the lady at the gas station told us what house was burning and we realized it was ours," said Lacey's stepfather, David Luedeking.

Although Hale had insurance on the building, none of the three families who lived there had insurance on their personal property. They were being assisted with help finding temporary housing, clothing and food by the Levy County Disaster Assistance Response Team of the American Red Cross.

Karen Voyles can be reached at (352) 486-5058 or voylesk@ gvillesun.com.

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