Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo couple loses nearly everything in house fire

LARGO — Sylvia Sprague kept her hands busy Wednesday afternoon.

She milled about, checking belongings pulled from a fire that engulfed her home at 913 N Palm Drive SW just before 10 a.m. Wednesday. She lit a cigarette, screwed the cap on and off of a water bottle, put her hands on her hips.

Sprague, 60, paused only for a moment to survey the charred remains of her home. As she stood on the lawn, tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped them away with seared fingertips and took an unsteady breath.

"I feel so terrible," she said. "So tired, so — lost. Everything's gone."

Her husband, Claude Sprague, 64, lingered nearby. Their 4-year-old Chi-poo dog, Precious, perished in the blaze.

"I kept calling her name," Sylvia Sprague said. "All the way out, I kept calling for her."

Sprague escaped through the front door after she awoke to the sound of a fire alarm Wednesday morning. Yellowish smoke filled the house, she said. It burned her eyes, her lungs.

"I didn't know what was going on," she said. "I just ran out. I was still in my pajamas."

Claude Sprague wasn't there when the fire ignited. He said he had gone shopping when Largo police called to say Sylvia had been taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

"The main thing is we're alive," he said.

Largo Fire Rescue spokesman David Mixson said the home is a total loss. It was not immediately clear what sparked the blaze, he said, though the Spragues suspect it was electrical.

Claude Sprague has lived in that house for 26 years, he said.

Friends and family converged on the house Wednesday afternoon to help the couple remove whatever belongings were salvageable.

Among the items pulled unmarred from the scene: stacks of photo albums.

"At least these are okay," Sylvia Sprague said as she opened and closed the books.

The couple will be staying with family members in Clearwater for the time being. They're still in shock, they said.

"It's all gone," Claude Sprague said. "All of it."

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4155.

Largo couple loses nearly everything in house fire 06/13/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
]
  2. Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma

    News

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 10th elderly patient has died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital.

    The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave. [EMILHY MICHOT | Miami Herald]
  3. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us

    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  4. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  5. Facebook to release Russia ads to Congress amid pressure

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators.