Family watches in horror as flames engulf their home


Gainesville firefighters work to extinguish flames outside of a home at 1501 SE 25th Ave. Friday where an afternoon fire destroyed the single family home.

ROB C. WITZEL/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, October 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 30, 2005 at 11:24 p.m.
Deloris and Charlie Thomas could do nothing but watch Friday as the home they love smoldered before their eyes.
A phone call from a neighbor telling her that her family's aqua-colored house at 1501 SE 25th Ave. was engulfed in flames sent Deloris Thomas into a panic, she said.
When the couple and their 24-year-old daughter, Tiffani Thomas, rushed back to their home to see firefighters battling heavy smoke and flames, Deloris Thomas said she was devastated.
"I can't believe it - we just left at 4:30 (p.m.)," Thomas, 52, said tearfully. "What are we going to do?"
A neighbor called 911 at 6 p.m. to report the fire. Six minutes later, Gainesville firefighters arrived and fought the blaze for about 20 minutes before it was put out, said GFR District Chief Michael Fulton. The outside walls of the four-bedroom, two-bath house began cracking while firefighters were inside, prompting them to evacuate the house and battle the blaze from the outside, Fulton said.
No one was home at the time of the fire and there were no reported injuries.
Shainna Small, 18, lives two streets down from the Thomases and said she came over after she saw the black smoke.
"You could hear the glass busting from the windows," Small said.
The cost of the damage is unknown. The cause and origin of the fire is still under investigation, Fulton said. The American Red Cross was called to assist the family, he added.
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or balld@gvillesun.com

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