Elderly woman narrowly escapes burning home

Published: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 31, 2005 at 11:42 p.m.
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Firefighters from Alachua County Fire Rescue and Gainesville Fire Rescue battle a blaze early Thursday morning at 5711 SW 43rd Terrace. According to ACFR spokesman Mark Hughes, units responded to a 911 call at 1:04 a.m. to find the house engulfed in flames.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
An 83-year-old woman escaped from her burning home in the Kanapaha area of Alachua County early Thursday minutes before the home was engulfed in flames.
Smoke continued to billow above the charred remnants of the single-story wood-frame house at 5711 SW 43rd Terrace an hour after the home caught on fire.
Alachua County Fire Rescue spokesman Mark Hughes said the fire was called in at about 1:04 a.m. by a family member who advised that the house was on fire and that the unidentified woman, whose name was not released by Fire Rescue, had escaped to safety.
Within 10 minutes, more than a dozen units from Alachua County Fire Rescue and Gainesville Fire Rescue arrived. The blaze was not fully out until 5 a.m.
The fire gutted the house, melting the vinyl sidings and crumbling the rear of the house to heaps of blackened rubble. Two lone chimneys bathed in lights from fire trucks stood high above what was left of the home.
Hughes said the woman told firefighters she has lived in the home all her life. Tucked away behind a maze of trees and brush off a dirt road, the home was described as a "farm-style house" by firefighters.
No one was injured, and the woman, who lives alone at the house, was alerted by a smoke detector of the fire, allowing her to escape without injury, Hughes said.
The cause and origin of the fire are still under investigation, but it was believed to be accidental, Hughes said.
Debbie Ball can be reached at 338-3109 or balld@gvillesun.com

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