HOLIDAY — Ruth Clark watched Thursday morning as firefighters doused the hot spots. The flames destroyed everything inside the pale green home, but Clark was just glad no one was hurt.
"Material things don't matter to me," said Clark, 63. "I didn't really have that much anyway."
Clark shares the rental home at 1825 Patriot Lane with her daughter, Robin Clark, who is 43 and has mental health issues. Ruth Clark left the home at 6:45 a.m. Thursday to make the 1-mile walk to Winn-Dixie, where she works as a cashier. Two hours later, a neighbor called her at work to tell her the house was on fire.
The spark may have come from her daughter's cigarette, Ruth Clark said.
"My daughter noticed smoke," Clark said. "She tried to put it out, then she left the house to get some help."
"She had sense enough to get out, that's what matters," Clark added.
Pasco Fire Rescue was called to the scene at 8:45 a.m. and had the blaze under control within a half-hour. Investigators were still determining what caused the fire, but the damage was extensive. The Red Cross is helping the Clarks with a place to stay.
The women have five cats but haven't found them all yet. Clark said several of them scurried out to safety when firefighters opened the door.