A scared and frustrated Olivia Mims watched anxiously as firefighters battled a blaze that destroyed her Martinez home Monday morning.
A Martinez firefighter joins the battle against a blaze that destroyed a house in Evans' Springlakes subdivision.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"This is a nightmare," Mims said, watching from across the street as flames broke through the roof of her two-story Springlakes brick home.
"I can't believe this is happening."
The Martinez Fire Department responded to the home at 215 Ridgetop Drive after a neighbor called 911 at 9:22 a.m. to report an explosion.
No one was injured in the blaze, which took Martinez firefighters about 30 minutes to get under control, said Honey Shore, the fire department's spokeswoman.
Fire department Chief Doug Cooper said firefighters at first had a problem locating one of two hydrants in the area because it was surrounded by shrubs in a yard a few homes away from the Mimses' house. But he said the hydrant was located within a few minutes and the other hydrant provided adequate water in the meantime to battle the fire.
Mims and her husband, Darryl, said at first they thought someone might be stealing their 2000 Ford Expedition from their garage because they heard it start up. But when they opened the garage door, they found the front end of the SUV in flames. The Mimses fled their home with only a portable telephone and walked in their socks to warn neighbors.
Minutes after fleeing the home, the Mimses heard explosions of what they assumed were flames reaching the vehicle's gas tank and their garage's gas water heater.
Because of the extensive damage to the home, Shore said an investigator from the state fire marshal's office was called in to determine the cause of the fire. A spokesman for the marshal's office said a cause is still being investigated.
Martinez firefighters used their aerial truck to help battle the blaze.
The fire began in the garage and quickly spread, engulfing the house until it was gutted, Shore said.
Two of the Mimses' four children live in the home, but they were already at school when the fire started. The Mimses purchased the home Aug. 13. The Augusta office of the American Red Cross is assisting the family, a spokesman said.
The Mimses said they feel lucky despite losing their home.
"To go from very comfortable to nothing at all in just a few seconds," Darryl Mims said. "I'm still living. I can get another house. I can't get another me. And this was too close for comfort."
The Mimses said the SUV was recently worked on, including having new battery cables added for a malfunctioning horn.
Photo by Jim BlaylockA Martinez firefighter joins the battle against a blaze that destroyed a house in Evans' Springlakes subdivision.
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