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Material ignites brush fire that destroys Tampa home

TAMPA — An unidentified piece of flaming material started a brush fire that destroyed a home Tuesday afternoon, fire investigators say.

The flaming material ignited a tree that set 3421 W Kathleen St. ablaze and caused $100,000 in damage, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

Here's what fire officials say happened: Carlos Diaz, 32, was headed into Nick's Smokehouse in the 3100 block of N Himes Avenue when he saw the fire and alerted two Nick's employees, Brian Livesay, 49, and Hilbert Gibbs, 31. Gibbs and Livesay tried to douse the flames with extinguishers and a garden hose, as Diaz went to the house and told the occupants it was on fire.

The home's owner, Pedro Flores, 53, was inside with his mother Lourdes. They got out safely, although Lourdes Flores was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. Livesay experienced some chest pain, possibly from the smoke and was treated on scene by fire rescue paramedics and taken to a local hospital.

Fire Capt. Steve Suarez received a leg injury. He was treated and released from a local hospital.

Authorities said the home was paid for, but not insured.

They caution that dry weather conditions have heightened the risk of fire in the city as well as in rural areas. There should be no outdoor burning, and people need to be careful about disposing smoking materials.

Material ignites brush fire that destroys Tampa home 03/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 12:08am]
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