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Brandon blaze kills one, destroys home

BRANDON — Neta Candella saw the strange orange glow above the trees. She knew something wasn't right.

Down the street from her mother's home on Craft Road, a neighbor's house was on fire.

"I went outside on the patio because I couldn't sleep," Candella said Sunday evening. "That's when I heard this popping sound and saw the glow. I couldn't see what it was until I went around the front."

Outside, she saw flames consuming the single-story house a few doors down.

Candella called 911, but by the time rescue crews arrived about 12:45 a.m. Sunday, it was too late for one person inside a home at 109 Craft Road, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

No cause for the blaze has been identified.

It took firefighters 45 minutes to put out the flames, which had caused the roof to collapse. Crews also came across downed power lines at the scene.

They later found the victim's body, which had not been identified Sunday night.

County property records show that Cristal Renee Crews, 46, owned the two-bedroom, two-bath single-story house.

Neighbors said she lived there by herself and also had a grown son.

As the sun went down Sunday evening, a charred shell of the tan home with brown trim was all that remained of the house. A burnt Buick remained parked under the carport, which had also collapsed.

Despite rainstorms that came through the area, the scent of fire lingered in the air.

"By the time I saw it, it was fully engulfed," Candella said. "I knew it wasn't good if anyone was inside."

Chandra Broadwater can be reached at or 661-2454.

Brandon blaze kills one, destroys home 07/19/09 [Last modified: Sunday, July 19, 2009 10:57pm]
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