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Dunedin fire destroys home, kills several pets


A Dunedin home where a mother, son and a number of animals lived was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning.

The 52-year-old mother and 18-year-old son survived, Dunedin fire Division Chief Bill McElligott said, but many of the pets did not.

McElligott said one greyhound, a chihuahua, seven cats, two turtles and numerous birds died. Three greyhounds survived.

The fire began shortly after 8 a.m. at 2216 Demaret Drive in Fairway Estates, where a large column of black smoke could be seem from a mile away, McElligott said.

The son, Stephen Putman, was found inside the home near the front entrance, trying to rescue the pets. He was taken to Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, where he was treated and released.

The mother, Mary Putman, was treated at the scene, McElligott said, but was later transported to Morton Plant after learning of her chihuahua's death.

On Wednesday evening, she was still being evaluated, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Neighboring homes along the lake in Fairway Estates were untouched by the fire, McElligott said. The mother and son indicated the flames began in the living room, but the cause of the fire was not immediately clear. It did not appear to be suspicious,

"This house was loaded with stuff," McElligott said. "It made it difficult to move around in there."

A neighbor described Mary Putman as disabled with a "withered right arm and leg."

"She counts on other people to help her," said Cathe Bain, who has lived next to the Putmans for 15 years. "And she didn't have a lot of help. The place was in declining condition."

Bain said that Stephen Putman was a musician, and it's believed he lost all of his musical equipment, including several guitars, some valuable, in the blaze.

Bain said the pair were distraught over losing their animals. Stephen Putman was especially close to the greyhound that perished.

"The dog was always sleeping with him in the bed. When he moved, it would move with him. It was a devoted pet," Bain said.

Fire inspectors are still investigating the cause of the fire.

The house was deemed a total loss and damage was estimated at approximately $280,000. The American Red Cross is providing shelter for the family, McElligott said.

The mother and son were alerted to the blaze by their smoke detector, he said.

Dunedin fire destroys home, kills several pets 05/04/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 8:43pm]
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