A father and his young daughter, about 5 years old, were hospitalized for smoke inhalation this morning after a fire in the garage at 6 Llach Court in Palm Coast inundated the house with smoke. The fire was contained before spreading further.
Six dogs, including two puppies, were rescued when Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Steve Williams alerted firefighters to the dog’s presence in the house. Some of the dogs had also run out to escape the smoke, neighbors said.
The fire started at about 10:40 Tuesday morning. According to Flagler Fire Chief Don Petito, who was at the scene, the tenant, Roy Casey, 37, was in his garage, working on a refrigerator. The refrigerator caught fire. Engine 92 was first on scene. “They pulled up, they had smoke showing, Bunnell was right behind them, was able to get water from the hydrant,” Petito said. “They went in and did a search and rescue, they rescued five dogs. The occupant self-evacuated after trying to put the fire out himself.”
A Flagler County Sheriff’s incident report released today indicates a different series of events. Casey told police that he had been smoking a cigarette in the garage area and thought he had fully put it out. He said that when he put it out, he placed it “on top of a full pack of cigarettes inside of his unplugged freezer, located in the garage,” according to the report. He then went into the house and “later recognized smoke coming from the garage area. [Casey] then said he attempted to put the fire out using a garden hose but could not and ran out of the home with his daughter.” His daughter is 2 years old, according to the report.
Both victims were taken to Florida Hospital Flagler for smoke inhalation. “The fire was mainly in the garage here,” Petito said. “He tried to put it out himself and it got out of control.”
Neighbors said the house is usually occupied by a couple and six children. The house, a 3,000-square-foot, two-level structure, is not homesteaded. It is owned by a Port Orange resident, and is valued at $149,000, according to the property appraiser’s latest numbers.
Margaret King, a neighbor, was on a lawn across the street, tending to the small dogs with the help of Flagler County Fire Rescue’s David Lawrence, who administered oxygen to two of the dogs–the two puppies–after they came out looking sluggish from the smoke. King said Sophie’s Circle, the Volusia County-based pantry and dog rescue organization, would be taking care of the dogs until the tenants figure out where they’re able to live.
Carol Boswell, a neighbor immediately across the street from the scene of the fire, said the tenant came running to her door, knocking and asking for help. She was already hearing the sirens from fire trucks as he was knocking on her door, Boswell said. “He was a little frazzled, but he was OK,” Boswell said of the tenant.
“The fire,” Petito said, pointing to the various portions of the house, “is contained to the garage area but the smoke damage is throughout, you see the smoke coming out of the front door, back door, smoke penetrated everything in the house. Water damage was maintained in the garage here. Right now we’re just trying to get the smoke out of the house and turn it back over to the occupant. The only actual fire damage is right there in the garage.” Whether the house will be livable was to be determined after the fire was cleared.
Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Bunnell Volunteer Fire Department, the Palm Coast Fire Department, the sheriff’s office and the Palm Coast Fire Police responded to the scene. None of the firefighters were injured.