Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Public safety

Woman is killed in fire at Zephyrhills duplex

ZEPHYRHILLS — A woman was killed when fire tore through a Zephyrhills duplex early Friday, authorities said. Her boyfriend has been arrested on separate charges.

The blaze was reported about 1:45 a.m. at Raintree Apartments, at 37750 State Road 54, according to the Pasco County's Sheriff's Office. Fire crews arrived to find the wood-framed structure in flames and were told a person was trapped inside.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control within about 15 minutes and found the woman's body. Three people in the other side of the duplex escaped without injury. No other injuries were reported. The building is a total loss, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies have identified the woman as Tiffany Lorraine Milam, 26. Christopher Peterson, 30, was inside the same unit and escaped without injury.

Peterson was later arrested on a charge of violating a pretrial release agreement that he was not supposed to be at the home. He was arrested May 2 on charges of domestic battery and marijuana possession of less than 20 grams.

Investigators were working Friday to determine the cause of the fire.

According to Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, Peterson told deputies that he saw smoke about 2 a.m. and immediately ran out of the home, leaving his girlfriend behind on the bed. Their side of the duplex was about 400 square feet, deputies estimated.

Peterson said he would have gone back into the duplex to rescue her, but the smoke blinded him and the heat kept him out, Nocco said. Deputies found Peterson near the home, covered in bruises. He told them a person from the adjacent apartment beat him up. Deputies have not identified that man.

The bed where Milam's body was found was 2 feet from the door, close enough for Nocco to point to inside the burnt-out shell of the home.

Nocco said Peterson has been cooperative with deputies.

Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

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