BROOKSVILLE — Katherine Turpin stood in a neighbor's driveway on Tuesday morning and watched Brooksville firefighters lug hoses out of her home on Woodland Drive.
As idling fire trucks rumbled nearby, Turpin, 85, wiped tears and waited on word about her dogs, Sparky and Bruno. Turpin and her son, Philip Napier, had left their house in the Southway Villa community to run an errand. They returned to find emergency vehicles lining their street.
"Usually I take the dogs with me, but I didn't feel like it this morning," Turpin said, her lower lip trembling.
A few minutes later, Brooksville fire Chief Tim Mossgrove walked up to Turpin and put his arm around her.
Firefighters found both dogs dead in the single-wide home's back bedroom, where the fire seemed to have started, Mossgrove said.
"There's nothing you could have done," he told Turpin.
Sparky, a midnight black wirehaired terrier, and Bruno, a white chihuahua, were still puppies, said Napier, 55. He and his mother got Sparky and Bruno after their two previous dogs died of old age.
"They were a lot of comfort," Napier said of the puppies.
Firefighters arrived about 9:45 a.m. to find flames and heavy smoke pouring from the back of the mobile home at 7291 Woodland. They were able to contain the blaze to the rear of the home, but the smoke and heat damaged the rest of the structure, likely resulting in a total loss, Mossgrove said.
The cause of the fire was unclear Tuesday. The state fire marshal was investigating.
Turpin said she has lived since 1994 in Southway Villa, a tidy neighborhood on the south side of the city, off Barnett Road, shaded by mature oak trees. She moved to her current home about 10 years ago.
Turpin owned the home and leased the lot. She does not have insurance.
The Red Cross was expected to provide assistance, which usually includes a couple of nights in a hotel room. Turpin said she wasn't sure where she and her son were going to stay after that.
"I'll find someone," she said.
Tony Marrero can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1431.