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Fire blamed on overloaded power strip
The Dade City home "a total loss," a county fire investigator says. But no one is hurt.
By HELEN ANNE TRAVIS, Times Staff Writer
Published December 20, 2007
As firefighters work the scene, property owner Rosa Martinez stands in front of a home on Tait Avenue in Dade City that was destroyed by a fire Wednesday afternoon. A family had been renting the house from Martinez for the several months, but no one was inside at the time of the blaze.
[Mike Pease | Times]
DADE CITY - An overloaded power strip sparked a fire and destroyed a home Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said. No one was inside at the time of the blaze.
After the flames were extinguished, Marcelino Monis peeked through the burned window frames, trying to see what remained of the home that he, his wife and their three children had rented for several months.
Officials said most of the contents were damaged by either flames or the heat.
"It's a total loss," said Donald Campbell, a Pasco County fire investigator.
In a back room, firefighters said they found a power strip that fed a window air conditioning unit, a space heater and other appliances. They believe the blaze started there.
The home was built in 1954, according to county records. Campbell said that older homes usually have fewer wall plugs than their newer counterparts.
As officials cleared the scene, neighbors and friends checked in on Monis. They gathered by the plastic candy canes that his family had arranged in front of the home for Christmas.
A twin mattress smoldered in the grass. Firefighters ducked under a line of drying laundry as they collected the yellow hoses that filled the yard. In the dirt street, a small dog chased a rooster.
Monis' landlords, Juan and Rosa Martinez, came to inspect the damage.
Rosa Martinez was driving around Dade City when she saw a giant plume of smoke rising from the neighborhood. She drove over to find the home she owned on fire.
"The house I don't care about," she said. "I am just glad no one was inside."