SPRING HILL — A pair of adults and seven children escaped injury Tuesday morning when a bedroom inside their small house at 572 Swallow Lane caught fire, Hernando County Fire Rescue said.
Not all of their pets were as fortunate.
A worker mopping soot from the tile floor of the home on Wednesday afternoon said that he had to bury a parrot that morning.
Some of the house’s windows were broken, walls were blackened and a heavy smell of smoke hung in the air. The yard was strewn with a bird cage, toys and other belongings.
Kevin Carroll, assistant fire chief for Hernando County Fire Rescue, said that the inhabitants were being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Carroll said firefighters were called to the house at 7:11 a.m. Tuesday. An electrical short in a window air-conditioning unit caught bedding on fire, he said.
“It was all contained to a bedroom, as far as fire damage,” Carroll said. “There was smoke damage to the rest of the structure, so they were unable to live in it” immediately.
Carroll said there were two adults and seven children in the home.
“I’m not sure if they were renters or owners, but typically when there’s smoke damage like that and no significant structural damage, they’re generally not out of the residence for too long,” he said.
Neighbors Harvey and Susan Carey, who live across the street, said two women, Tasha Williams and Crystal Murray, share the house with their combined families.
The Careys described the families as quiet.
“We were sleeping” when the fire started, Harvey Carey said. “I didn’t see much. We came outside and saw everybody out in the street.”
Susan Carey said there was smoke coming from the house, but she didn’t see any flames.
“They’ve had a run of bad luck,” Susan Carey said, adding that one of the women recently lost a purse.
The Careys, who have lived on Swallow Lane for a decade, said that the families lived at the home less than a year.
The Careys said they saw representatives with Red Cross, which helps fire victims find a place to stay and offers vouchers for food, clothing and other necessities.
Besides the parrot, Carroll said that two dogs perished.
“There were also a couple of kittens, and we tried to give them oxygen,” Carroll said. “We tried to revive them, but I’m not sure of the status of the kittens.
“We have little (oxygen) masks for the animals. It slides over their snout. A cat is a little different but we do have masks with oxygen hooks that we can put over their face to provide oxygen.”