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Monday, Mar 30, 2015

Spring Hill house destroyed in fire

Tony Holt Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 04:20 PM

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Firefighters acted fast. They responded to a blaze four minutes after getting the call Monday.

They weren't fast enough. The fire itself had too much of a head start.

The investigation into the cause of the fire remains open.

Spring Hill Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Carroll said by the time first responders arrived at 157 Candlewick Ave., flames were coming out of the windows and through the roof.

No one was inside the home when it caught fire and the family dog was outside running around when firefighter's arrived, Carroll said.

But the house was a total loss.

"What didn't catch on fire had significant smoke damage," said Carroll.

The blaze started near the area of a sofa in the living room. The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.

The house is owned by Scott and Tracy Budlove, according to property records.

The American Red Cross was contacted, but the homeowners declined assistance, according to an agency spokeswoman.

Scott Budlove declined to comment when a reporter saw him pull up to his house Tuesday. He showed up to meet with a claims adjuster from an insurance company.

Jerry Osborn, who lives behind the Budloves along Pebble Street, said he noticed the fire shooting through the windows and told his wife to call 911. Fire units arrived shortly before 6 p.m.

Osborn said he was putting out the trash when he smelled smoke. He turned and saw an orange glow coming from his neighbor's windows.

"I wandered over here and the next thing you know, it went boom," he said as he reenacted what he did 20 hours earlier. "It blew the glass out and everything … The flames were blowing toward the oak tree."

He worried the flames would spread, so he doused the edges of the fire using his garden hose.

Another neighbor got the dog out of the fenced-in yard, Osborn said.

The fire was so violent, many of the neighbors who came outside and onto the street had to move a few houses down to avoid being engulfed by the black smoke and heat.

"I was here watering my lawn and the next thing I know I hear a pop," said James Loomis, who lives across the street along Candlewick. "I looked up and saw the flames coming up. Then I heard more popping."

Deborah Cox, a spokeswoman with the State Fire Marshal's Office, said the estimated damage was about $75,000. She confirmed the case remains open.

"The fire had obviously been smoldering and burning for a while before we got there," said Carroll. "It had quite a head start on our guys." (352) 544-5283

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