Owner in custody after fire

GULF COVE, FL -- Fire damaged a Gulf Cove house Friday morning, but the owner and her dogs were unhurt.

The owner, Lois London, 77, was taken into custody after an altercation with paramedics.

London was taken to Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte, where "she's going to be evaluated mentally and physically," said Charlotte County Fire and EMS Battalion Chief Jeff Philbin.

Investigator Adam Rivero of the state fire marshal's office estimated damage to the house at $30,000 to $40,000.
The cause of the fire was unknown Friday, but Rivero said arson is a possibility.

Firefighters arrived at the house in the 6400 block of Coniston Street at 9:17 a.m. The fire consumed the lanai and filled the one-story house with smoke, Philbin said.

The wooden walls of the lanai were charred, and glass from its windows was on the ground. A screened-in pool area was also damaged, Philbin said.

A sheriff's deputy who apparently entered the home with a fire extinguisher before firefighters arrived suffered slightly from smoke irritation to his eyes, Philbin said.
Emergency personnel found one of London's two dogs immediately. The other was found beneath the living room couch after the fire had been put out, Philbin said.

They were taken to the county's animal control department.