Fire destroys woman's new home

Items left on top of the stove caught fire when the power was turned on.


Published: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 11:23 p.m.

Ordinary tasks associated with moving apparently caused a fire that destroyed a woman's new home and her belongings Tuesday, firefighters reported.

Flames spread through Unit No. 61 at Woodland Villas, 5950 S.W. 20th Avenue, shortly before 1:30 p.m., said fire rescue spokeswoman Carol Davis.

"She lost everything," Davis said about the resident, a young woman who had been moving into the two-story townhouse. Two adjacent residences also were damaged by smoke.

The woman had taken some belongings into the building as she moved in but was not at home when the utilities were turned on.

What the resident didn't know was a stove burner apparently had been switched on at some point. That didn't matter when there was no power to the residence.

But, when the power came on, so did the burner. The hot burner ignited some items that had been placed on top of it, causing the blaze, firefighters reported.

"The stuff sitting on the stove caught on fire," Davis said.

Flames damaged the downstairs section of the home while smoke damaged the upstairs portion of the building.

Davis said it was lucky the blaze didn't spread upstairs and into the roof.

Both Alachua County and Gainesville firefighters were at the scene to control the fire and prevent it from growing.

The circumstances behind the fire are something people moving into a new home in Gainesville should be careful to avoid, Davis said.

John Marti, vice president of Contemporary Management Concepts, said situations like this can and do happen when people are moving into a new residence.

The company has several apartment complexes in Gainesville, including Woodland Villas, according to its Web site.

Marti said employees were making arrangements for the woman to get another unit at the complex, but anyone who wants to assist her with replacing her belongings could contact the office at 386-462-7179.

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