Neighbor tries to save Golden Gate Estates home from fire

Many homes in Golden Gate Estates were spared by the fire, but there were three that burned in an area that firefighters had a hard time getting to. One man tried to help out the fire at a neighbor’s house, but it was just too much.

The greener pastures that attract people to the Estates are now white with damp ash. Driving through the streets and the backroads off Everglades Boulevard affords a view of many homes that survived the massive fire.

But a closer look reveals not every property was lucky. Remnants of one man’s home, gone in minutes, appear off a dirt road.

James Thompson said he watched as the flames quickly spread and burned down three of his neighbors’ homes.

“It took 30 minutes of the wind and this was a two-story house and it just flattened it,” he said.

The family who lived in the house just had a baby and recently moved in.

“Watching the owners’ face just look at everything, because they have done so much work to the house, it was just very sad, very, very sad.”

Thompson said he tried to help his neighbors save their homes.

“We were actually pouring water on the house and it caught the insulation, the soffit, and it was just rolling flames and we had to walk away.”

He said he doesn’t understand why the winds steered the fire away from his house, and wonders why Friday’s rain started later rather than sooner.

The good news is that the families and their animals escaped the fire.

Thompson said his goal now is to make sure they have what they need to keep going – clothes and food for everyone, including their pets.

“Everybody’s local, so everybody’s sticking together and being a family, so we’ll get it done, we’re positive. It’s all you can do … because I know they’d be right by my side doing the same thing.”

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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