PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Oxalis Garcia’s home in the Shore Acres section of St. Petersburg burned for nearly eight hours and there was nothing firefighters could do because the neighborhood was still flooded Wednesday afternoon.

“We are grateful that we heeded the warnings, that we evacuated,” Garcia said.

Garcia said she expected flooding from Hurricane Idalia’s storm surge.

“What we were not expecting is there to be a fire caused by the storm surge that prevented the firefighters from putting it out,” she said.

At about noon Wednesday, she said she received a frantic call from a neighbor alerting her that her house was on fire. After driving back, Garcia said she waded through waist-deep water to get to her home of eight years.

“I saw flames coming out from the roof, the roof and the structure, and everything just kind of falling down,” Garcia said.

The clean-up after Idalia is underway on the other side of Pinellas County.

“This particular house got flooded like 10 inches of water,” said Luis Camacho from Bella Costa Designs.

He said his employees need to be extra careful as they remove ruined floors from flooded homes in Madeira Beach.

“A lot of the times when the water gets with the electricity, it becomes a hazard and you’re gonna get sparks and then obviously that turns into a fire and I’ve seen several of those happen already,” Camacho said.

One of those house fires happened right across the street on Bayshore Drive.

Jason Acuna shot video of the aftermath from his kayak.

“There’s a guy in waist-deep water trying to put out the fire, but obviously with electrical they said let it go, it’s too far gone anyways,” Acuna said.

Back in St. Petersburg, Garcia said it is unsafe to go inside her home. She said she wants to search for pots and pans that belonged to her late grandmother, but she is heartbroken knowing many family photos and mementos were lost in the fire.

“We’re grateful to be alive,” she said. “We’re grateful to be safe and we’re grateful many of the things can be replaced, but we are devastated for those things we will never be able to get back.”

The St. Petersburg Fire Department is sharing some electrical safety tips for after the hurricane:

  • Contact a licensed electrician if you suspect there’s damage
  • Do not enter a home that has been flooded unless you are certain the power is turned off
  • Homeowners should check for any damage to wiring, outlets and electrical appliances
  • Never touch wet electrical equipment — that could be a deadly combination

A GoFundMe has been created to help Garcia rebuild.