Firefighters from Flagler Beach, Palm Coast and Flagler County teamed up to stop a blaze that demolished half a double-wide trailer and made two people homeless in Beverly Beach Thursday afternoon. Rescuers saved two dogs that had been trapped inside. The residents had just three weeks before contacted Florida Power and Light about concerns with electrical wiring, and were told there were no issues.
The blaze was one of two significant fires that engaged all three agencies in a matter of hours Thursday. Earlier, the firefighters battled a one-acre brush-fire that erupted just after 1 p.m. and spread rapidly at Seminole Woods Boulevard and Citation Parkway.
The Beverly Beach fire took place on Lot 11 at 2982 North Oceanshore Boulevard off State Road A1A, in the Flagler By the Sea RV and mobile home grounds. A neighbor initially reported the smoke coming out of the mobile home while her husband was trying to get three dogs out. He managed to get one of them. The occupants of the home, Renee Colosi, 61, and James Bosquez, 63, were not there at the time, having gone to a doctor’s appointment.
Flagler Beach Fire Department Captain Stephen Cox was first on scene. “Smoke was coming from the rear of the trailer,” he said, with water already on the fire two minutes after the first call to 911. State Road A1A was shut down at 5:38 p.m. as a water hose had to be connected to a hydrant on the ocean side of the road. The road re-opened at 6:18 p.m.
Thanks to a large response from the three agencies–“I can’t stress enough the importance of staffing,” Cox said–the fire was quickly contained to the rear of the residence, though it had started consuming a hallway connected to the rear bedroom.
Firefighters were made aware of the two dogs still in the home. Flagler County Fire Rescue’s Christopher Kendra and Justine Stone went into the trailer and each rescued one of the dogs. One of the dogs appeared “lifeless,” Cox said. “They didn’t think it was going to make it.” But fire units carry pet oxygen masks. The dog was treated and revived.
“We ended up calling an extra unit right off the bat,” Cox said. “We were able to utilize everyone on the scene, which made the operation real smooth.” The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the Flagler Beach fire police assisted. The fire marshal reported to the scene at 7:30 p.m. The incident is still under investigation, so the cause of the fire is not yet known.
Colosi told a sheriff’s deputy, according to a sheriff’s incident report, that “she believed the fire started in an utility room/ bedroom where they kept pet birds. Renee further stated they had contacted FPL numerous times regarding electrical issues coming from an electrical box and was told there were no issues located. Renee stated the last call was approximately three weeks prior.”
The American Red Cross was called in to assist the displaced homeowners, Cox said. He said the home was not livable at the moment, estimating damage at around $10,000.
Several passers-by called 911 to report the earlier fire, seeing flames from the road believed to have been triggered by a lightning strike: a storm had just blown over. Initially the fire was reported to be 20 by 20 feet, with flames five feet high. No houses were ever in danger. But within four minutes, the fire had spread to an area 50 by 50 feet, and 20 minutes after that it was an acre. But 45 minutes after it broke out, the fire was contained but for a small corner, with all active flames eliminated just before the hour mark.
Firefighters were at the scene several hours longer, with the state Division of Forestry arriving at the scene at 4:12 p.m., digging lines around the fire zone. A little after 9 p.m., “one smoking stump well within the lines” was spotted, according to 911 notes. “No hazard.” The fire zone was monitored through the night.