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    Fire guts Tarpon Springs mobile home

    No one was hurt in the Thursday afternoon fire, which officials say caused $40,000 in damage.

    By KATHERINE GAZELLA

    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000


    TARPON SPRINGS -- Rose Hough was taking a midafternoon nap when the smoke alarm went off in her mobile home.

    She woke up to the sight of smoke billowing through the house. She took a deep breath, ducked beneath the canopy of smoke and ran outside, barefoot and wearing a nightgown.

    As her home burned down, she had a neighbor call the Fire Department while she went to a friend's house down the street. She never looked back.

    "I didn't want to watch," said Hough, 53. Her husband Bill, 73, was not home during the fire.

    The fire started somewhere in the front of the mobile home at 223 Seabreeze Ave. in the Sun Valley Estates, just west of U.S. 19, said Kevin Bowman, deputy chief of the Tarpon Springs Fire Department.

    The cause had not been determined, but it appeared to be an accidental electrical fire, said Sgt. Allen MacKenzie of the Tarpon Springs Police Department.

    Damage at the destroyed home was estimated at $40,000. Nobody was injured.

    The fire started about 2 p.m. Thursday, and firefighters arrived about five minutes after receiving the call, Bowman said. When they saw the size of the fire, they called for backup from East Lake firefighters. Palm Harbor units already were on the way.

    "The fire was belching out of the mobile home fairly significantly," he said.

    The fire burned the siding off one side of the neighboring home. Most of the possessions at the front of the Hough home were burned beyond recognition, and the back of the house was heavily damaged by smoke.

    Rose Hough was eager to find out whether any belongings could be salvaged.

    "I'd like to have my clothes," she said.

    She and her husband do not know where they will live, but they plan to stay with friends for a while, she said. The house was insured, she said.

    - Times staff writer Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182 or gazella@sptimes.com.

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