Firefighters find two bodies in burned-out home


Crime Scene Investigators Christina Tuck and James Abdale Jr. investigate the residence of 20294 SE 219th Avenue in Island Grove, Fla., after it burned to the ground, Wednesday, January 27, 2010.

Erica Brough/ Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 8:09 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 1:49 p.m.

The bodies of an elderly man and his middle-aged son were recovered from the rubble of a burned-out home on Wednesday morning.

Alachua County officials were withholding the names of those who died in the overnight fire until their identity has been definitively confirmed.

Alachua County property tax records show the home was sold to Harold Lee and Mary Lou Wilkerson in 1979.

According to the Alachua County Department of Public Safety, the fire at 20294 S.E. 219th Ave. near the Island Grove community off U.S. 301 was reported at 12:15 a.m. Firefighters said the single-story, wood-frame home was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

The property records indicated the home had been built in 1929 and appeared to have been enlarged to its current size of 1,500 square feet in the 1950s. The single-story home was heated but did not have central air conditioning, the records showed. 

Department spokeswoman Carol Davis said two of the three residents of the home remained unaccounted for until about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"We understand that the man was in his 80s and the son was in his 50s," Davis said. "It took a long time to search this house because of the intense heat and the extent of the damage."


View Overnight House Fire in a larger map

Davis said a woman who also lived in the home, who was believed to be in her 70s or 80s, had taken someone else to the hospital Tuesday evening and was not at home at the time of the fire. However, the woman returned to the scene while crews were battling the flames and wound up being taken to North Florida Regional Medical Center for an unrelated illness, Davis said.

The American Red Cross and the Crisis Intervention Team responded to aid the family, including a daughter of the man and woman who lived across the street.

The family's house was adjacent to a set of railroad tracks used by Jacksonville-based CSX Corporation trains. Due to the intensity of the fire, railroad officials agreed not to use the tracks for about two hours, Davis said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

In addition to Alachua County crews, volunteer firefighters from Windsor, Melrose and Cross Creek worked to extinguish the blaze.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top