Family’s home destroyed in massive Golden Gate Estates fire

Published: May 23, 2021 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: May 24, 2021 7:46 AM EDT

A family is picking up the pieces after a fire destroyed their home. The fire melted the walls of this Golden Gate Estates home turning the inside unrecognizable. This family discusses their next steps and tells us where they go from here.

From the outside, this home doesn’t look destroyed but if you take a closer look, you’ll see the damage.

Johnathan and Tracey Perez are the homeowners. “It rolled into my daughter’s room which is a complete devastation here,” Johnathan said.

The Perez family lost their home in the fire that has since consumed about 1,500 acres.

“My 14-year-old has nothing left, nothing. Every memory, everything, sorry,” Tracey said, in tears.

All of them now have nothing left.

“You can tell everything here is pretty much… it’s charred, it’s smoke damage everywhere,” said Johnathan.

There wasn’t even enough time for Tracey’s grandson to grab his shoes.

“He doesn’t even have shoes. His shoes are gone because he was barefoot. My 16 year old she ended up in an ambulance down there because her asthma was so bad and I had no clue what was going on because I was here,” said Tracey.

But, they are fighting for the bit of their home that is still standing.

“Everyone’s like ‘what are you doing?’, ‘what are you doing?’ ‘why are you there?’, well I’m here because the fires keep igniting around and I don’t want to lose the structure,” Tracey said. “The structure is still sound just everything else is gone.”

They have yet to leave the house, they haven’t slept and this family hasn’t figured out why this had to happen to them.

“Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe it, it’s beyond surreal,” said Tracey. “I don’t know what word for it but just everything supposed to happen for a reason but I have no idea what God’s reason would be for this.”

The only thing Tracey does know is that this situation is insane. “It’s complete insanity. it’s just complete insanity,” she said.

The family says, for now, all they can do is clean up. But, luckily, they still have what’s most important.

“You can always replace a piece of steel and you can’t replace an arm,” said Johnathan.

The Perezes say Collier County is looking to put them up in a house.

Even though people can return to their homes, since the evacuation has been lifted, they are advised not to interfere with fire response crews.