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    ‘All of a sudden something exploded:’ Neighbors describe fire that tore through Southwest Jax home

    By Annette Gutierrez,


    Tonight, a child is in the hospital after a fire tore through a family’s home in southwest Duval County. Crews responded to the fire on Zain Michael Lane Tuesday afternoon around 1 pm.


    One neighbor who call called 9-1-1, captured the moments the house went up in flames.

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    Another neighbor saw it all unfold from beginning to end.

    “It was scary,” neighbor Raymond Garay said. “As you can see the entire house was burned.”

    Garay lives right next door and said he had just gotten home when he saw the flames and heard an explosion from the garage.

    “I saw the column there with fire, and I took my hose and started putting water on it, but all of a sudden something exploded inside and boom the fire came out real fast,” Garay said.

    More than eight fire crews responded to put out the flames for over two hours as dark plumes of smoke hovered over houses. JFRD said it took a little longer than expected because of the safety concerns due to the roof collapsing.

    ORIGINAL STORY: Child transported with serious injuries after house fire in Westside neighborhood, JFRD reports

    Garay said he had to move his car out of the way to keep it from burning up.

    “I bumped into the panel of my car, and I got a little bit burned,” Garay said.

    But he said the homeowners are nice family of four. They have two girls – a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old.

    “It’s sad to see someone’s house burn down,” Garay said.

    Action News Jax Annette Gutierrez spoke to another neighbor off camera who said the two girls were home at the time. The 14-year-old was inside, and the 16-year-old was outside playing in the yard. She said the 16-year-old didn’t get hurt, but the 14-year-old girl has serious smoke inhalation injuries.

    Around 6:30 pm, the dad came to check on his home and then left. But he spoke with some neighbors who said the 14-year-old girl who was taken to Baptist Health is now getting transferred to a hospital in Miami.

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    “I’m hoping they can get up again – it’s going to be hard,” Garay said.

    The home is destroyed – the roof is gone, the structure is filled with ashes, and a car inside is now just scraps of metal.

    The Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives is currently investigating the cause of the fire. Action News Jax reached out to the department and a spokesperson said they can’t provide any further details at this time since it’s an ongoing investigation.

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