SPRING HILL - Detectives with the State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating a fire that occurred around 5 a.m. Monday at 5440 Mariner Blvd. No one was home at the time of the fire.
According to Hernando County Property Appraiser records, the property is owned by Ruben Almedia-Diaz.
Neighbors said the homeowner drives a red car, and not the vehicle found in the garage incinerated by the fire. Neighbors said the car was not on the property at the time of the fire.
Neighbors say they were woken up by Hernando County Sheriff's deputies at 5 a.m., and were told as a safety precaution to collect valuable possessions and animals and leave their homes until the fire could be extinguished. Neighbors said they waited two hours until they could re-enter their homes.
"As soon as they were getting it under control there would be flare ups," said next door neighbor Rebecca Baatz. "We didn't know anything was going on until a sheriff's deputy was knocking and ringing on our door bell."
Baatz said the fire appeared heaviest toward the side of the house where the garage is.
"It's not something you want to go through," she said. "My husband was saying this morning, 'If a hurricane comes along you have to thin of any part of that house coming off, and your property taxes, and if you still own the house: the value of the home."