No people hurt in fires, but birds don't survive

Published May 19, 2005

TAMPA - Flames from a burning shed spread to two homes in South Tampa Wednesday, damaging a bedroom in each home and killing two pet birds.

Besides the parakeet and cockatiel, no one was injured in the blazes, which started in a shed behind 4308 S Lois Ave. shortly before 4 p.m., according to Tampa Fire Rescue officials. The fire spread to the back of the house and to a neighbor's home at 4306 S Lois Ave., said District 2 Chief Toby Hart. A second alarm was called on the fire, which was brought under control at 4:40, fire officials said.

Jennifer Falcon, 46, owner of the second home, said she had just gotten out of the shower and was dressing when she heard crackling noises. She yelled to her 16-year-old daughter, Jacquelene, who was resting on the couch, and asked her if it was raining.

The two then saw flames outside the windows, scrambled to grab their black lab, Ditto, and ran out, Falcon said. With neighbors' help, they sprayed garden hoses at the fire, to no avail.

Firefighters rescued a dog from the first home, where the shed had first caught fire. But they were too late for Falcon's birds.

"The parakeet and the cockatiel didn't make it," she said. That wasn't her only concern, though. "My husband just remodeled the inside, too," she said, sitting across the street outside a neighbor's house.

The owners of 4308 weren't home when the fire started, said Anthony Seheult, 58. His daughter and son-in-law, Analisa and Mark Whiteside, own the house. He said he can't imagine what started the fire, since the shed was empty.