Four fire departments and an ambulance responded to an evening house fire call on Wednesday, September 11 where the results were “heavy damage” to the structure and second-degree burns to a homeowner, said Gulfport Fire Chief James Marenkovic.
The call came in at 6:46 p.m. and within five minutes, Engine 17 of the Gulfport Fire Department was first on the scene at 5320 28th Ave. S., said Marenkovic. Two minutes later, water was being applied to the home.
“From the time of the call to water on the fire, that’s very good work,” he said.
Gulfport firefighters were soon joined by others from South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach and St. Petersburg in addition to ambulance paramedics from Sunstar.
When firefighters first arrived, “smoke was coming out the front door, and smoke and flames were showing out of the left side of the structure,” he said. “There was heavy damage to the kitchen and living room areas – smoke and water damage throughout the entire structure.”
The State Fire Marshal’s office is the lead investigator for the fire, said Marenkovic. “It doesn’t appear to be arson. The fire may have started in the areas that received heavy damage.”
One man, who was in the home at the time of the fire, “sustained second-degree burns on his way out of the structure,” he said. “He refused transport to the hospital and was seen by paramedics on the scene.”
Members of the Gulfport Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal’s office were on scene until midnight.
“We did find some smoke detectors in the home,” said Marenkovic. “It’s important to have smoke detectors with good batteries.”
All of the utilities have been shut off until permitted repairs are made, he said. “No one can live in the home right now.”
The exact cause of the fire will be determined when the active investigation is completed, he said.