The $30,000 garage next to 8307 Brentwood St. with flames streaming out the top of it was full of propane tanks, gas tanks, and stacks of gray paint buckets.
“Which are flammable,” said Lynn Mylle, who lives next door to the home where Hernando County Fire Rescue District Fire Chief Robert Miller said incident reports indicate brush was burnt throughout the day.
“When I called 911 they said the neighbor had a grass fire, and that the fire department had already been called,” she added.
She also called her stepson, Sonny Mylle, and told him, “We’re on fire.”
“If that would have caught on fire it would have blown up the whole building,” Sonny Mylle said of the flammable contents in the garage. “It would have been a bad time.”
Sonny Mylle, who works for BK Sealcoating and Striping LLC, recognized a lot of the faces in fire protection suits, hauling fire hoses and putting out the remaining hot spots in the dead beds of pine needles that were still smoking.
“About two weeks ago we sealed the Hernando County fire department parking lots,” Sonny Mylle said. “I’ve been going around and saying, ‘Hey, how does your lot look?’
By 3:30 p.m. Friday, humor was necessary — two structures had been burned totaling $100,000 in damages, Miller said. But the fire was at least under control.
“At this time there are no reported injuries,” Miller said, adding that the cause of the fire remains under investigation. “The call came in as a possible brush fire, then we upgraded to full structure response.”
Next door to the believed source of the fire — the residence of Pat and Bill Mann — a woman held a phone against her ear, explaining to her neighbors that there were flames in the back of their house and that they didn’t know the whereabouts of their cats or dogs.
In the Mann’s backyard was an 8-foot trailer where they had 12 years of Christmas decorations stored.
“Well, we used to have them,” Pat Mann explains after she arrived still in her work clothes to find her backyard charred. “Thank God the house didn’t get hit.”
“The only thing I was worried about was my dog,” she added. The cats would be all right — they would be back later after all the commotion settled and when the emergency vehicles were gone.
According to the Florida Division of Forestry, residents may burn yard waste such as leaves, shrub trimmings and palm fronds without authorization only if:
“If your fire escapes,” the Department of Forestry states, “you may be liable for costs of suppression and damage to the property of others.”
The incident remains under investigation.