MUSE, Fla. - A 220-acre wildfire tore through Glades County Wednesday Afternoon, totaling 2 homes in its path of destruction.
By the evening, it was 80% controlled, but at one point, it was so large you could smell it from the Lee/Hendry County line.
Wednesday afternoon, John Thomas Prince saw thick black smoke, and it was getting closer. "We stayed there until the fire got right up on the house," Prince said. "Me and my dad were with the water hose doing as much as we could and then after that, the back of the house caught on fire, and we just had to leave."
The wildfire multiplied near Sunset Trail and Summeral Road in the small community of Muse. A dirt road, the only thing separating the fire from many homes. Residents were forced to evacuate.
"I want to go home, I want to see for myself, I want to see for myself," Carmen Bordner said. "I want to see if I can help somebody."
Around 3:30 p.m., crews reported the fire was just 30 acres. In under an hour, it grew more than 5 times that size.
By 7 p.m., it was up to 220 acres.
(melissa yunas div of forestry)
"The fire spread really quickly due to dry vegetation and the winds, the winds were just not working in our favor," Melissa Yunas of the Division of Forestry said. "We were having a hard time getting around these houses because there were fences."
Two mobile homes were reduced to rubble, one of which was vacant. Crews from all around did their best to save the other 23 homes nearby. Families gathered on the side of the road, hoping and praying theirs were spared.
"There's no telling if the house made it of didn't make it," Prince said. "I've been living there since I was 4 years old."
"I dont know how this got started, I just hope and pray people would just be careful," Bordner said. "You don't know until it happens to you."
Residents were allowed back into their homes around 10 p.m. A team of Red Cross volunteers are supporting the families evacuated due to the wildfire.