PALM HARBOR — A house fire early Friday morning that displaced a family started in the engine of a truck parked in the driveway, officials said.
The fire at 2832 Longleaf Lane killed the family dog, but the only person at home at the time, homeowner Duane Huisman, escaped without injury, said Palm Harbor Fire Rescue spokeswoman Elizabeth Monforti.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation.
Next-door neighbor Bradley Elkins said a neighbor across the street heard a boom and came knocking on his door. Elkins ran outside to see Huisman's Ford F-150 pickup on fire.
The fire consumed the garage door and front of the house by the time Elkins ran inside his home to alert his wife and call 911 about 1:30 a.m. "Between the fire and the water, everything's just lost," Elkins said.
Huisman's 18-year-old daughter spent the night at a friend's and was not at home when the fire broke out. Her pet hedgehog survived but the family dog, Snowy, did not.
Elkins said Huisman's wife died about 16 years ago. Elkins said Huisman, a mail carrier, had grown close to the 12-year-old dog as his daughter spent more time with friends and as he recuperated for four months from a motorcycle accident.
"Out of everything in the house, what he's most upset about is losing his dog," Elkins said.