Family struggles after fire
By Rachael Jackson staff writer
September 5, 2003

VERO BEACH Antonio Wynn, 16, was upstairs sleeping. Keyonta Wynn, 21, was outside talking to her boyfriend. Sharon Wynn, 37, was at work.

But in the kitchen, a pan of oil on the stove was getting hotter and hotter.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the unattended pan, meant for a forgotten batch of French fries, burst into flames, sending smoke and fire through the home at 2436 42nd Place and sending the Wynn family scrambling for food, clothing and shelter on what would have been a normal day.

"The building is still there," Sharon Wynn said. "But there's nothing I could save."

No one was hurt in the blaze, but except for some smoky clothes and papers stored in a fire safe, the family lost everything in their recently remodeled home.

Firefighters responded and found the single-story house partially engulfed in flames. It was extinguished in 20 minutes, according to Indian River County Fire Department officials.

Keyonta Wynn discovered the fire when she came back inside that afternoon and found the kitchen full of smoke. She woke her brother up and they tried to extinguish it with sand and water before the Fire Department arrived.

Keyonta Wynn called her mother, who works as a nurse's aide at a nursing home, three times after she discovered the fire, each time giving a more tragic account of the blaze, Wynn said.

When Sharon Wynn stepped outside of her workplace, which is seven minutes from her home, she could see the smoke.

The fire created an additional hazard for firefighters when it came out of the windows and burned through wires outside the structure, leaving the live wires sparking. Utility workers were able to shut off the power, a fire official said. By the time Wynn arrived the fire was extinguished.

"When I got there the fire trucks had the road blocked off," she said.

Wednesday, Wynn said her house was still dripping wet from the 2,000 gallons used to put the fire out. Most of the walls were black and wet clumps of fallen installation formed lumps on the floor.

The American Red Cross North Treasure Coast Chapter is giving the family accommodations for a few days, but in two days, Wynn said she doesn't know where she and her two children will be staying.

Wynn, who had no insurance on the house, said she is taking things, "one day at a time."

Donations to the family can be made by contacting Frank Hoover at the Vero Beach service center of the Red Cross, 562-2549.

- rachael.jackson@scripps.com