ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — When WFLA went to the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg to speak to residents about water damage in their homes, we saw thick, black smoke billowing from a home nearby.
Around noon, flames had fully engulfed the two-story house on Shore Acres Boulevard. The siding was melted, the home was charred and there was significant damage. Flames were shooting through the windows and the roof, leaving a gaping hole.
The fire’s message: water and electricity can be a dangerous and even deadly combination.
“There was plenty of fire that was involved in the first floor and the second floor so immediately extinguished it,” said St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Lt. Garth Swingle.
Lt. Swingle said the homeowner had evacuated before the hurricane and later returned home, but they were not inside the residence when the fire broke out.
Fire officials said if your home experiences flooding, make sure to turn off the main circuit breaker or fuse box before you go inside.
“We want make sure this message is out there make sure your main power your panel is off,” said Lt. Swingle. “If you have evacuated, Duke Energy gives the OK to turn it back on, then yes.”
Lt. Swingle said if you come across electrical equipment that has been submerged or is wet, do not touch it. Call an electrician.
Investigators are now working to learn the cause of the fire.