Fla. Crews Tackle Mansion Blaze


Florida firefighters battled unusually low temperatures and high winds as flames engulfed a mansion and threatened to destroy other nearby homes on Sunday morning.

The 9-1-1 call came in at 9:15 a.m. and people reported heavy flames engulfing the top two floors of the home.

The first unit, from Escambia County Fire Rescue hooked up to a hydrant on the front lawn of the home. The crew deployed a 2 1/2-inch attack line with a rapid atack monitor to the "B" side to protect a home about 20 feet away.

A second 2 1/2-inch line, with a smooth bore nozzle, was stretched to protect the "D" exposure.

In order to control the heavy flames, two "Rapid Attack Monitors" and two aerial master streams were used to control the fire in 55 minutes. Thirty-eight firefighters, manning six engines, two ladders and an air truck responded to the blaze, which was fueled by 25 to 30 mph winds.

The homeowner, a retired U.S. Marine Corp Lt. Colonel and an original pilot for the Blue Angels, suffered burns. His collection of Blue Angel memorabilia was destroyed. Crews managed to save a Jaguar parked in the ground floor garage by having a wrecker tow it out while the fire was in progress.

With the unusually low temperatures -- 24 degrees -- an Escambia County Transit bus was called in for rehab purposes.

The Florida Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the cause of the fire.