Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg man loses home, pets in late night fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Firefighters had two missions when they descended upon the burning mobile home off Gandy Boulevard late Thursday:

Save the home next door, and save the cats trapped inside the blaze.

The neighbor's home escaped unscathed. The same cannot be said for the 11 cats that lived in trailer No. 46.

There was only one survivor, an orange tabby named Corky.

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue District Chief Rich Johnson said firefighters arrived to find flames shooting through the roof and the cats inside straining to get out. Firefighters started breaking windows to let them out.

"I saw a cat hanging on a window screen when I got here," Johnson said. But after firefighters tried to free the cat, the chief said, the animal ran the wrong way.

Neighbors reported the fire at Twin City Mobile Home Park, 10636 Gandy Blvd. N about 11:30 p.m. It took firefighters from St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park about 40 minutes to knock it down.

No people were inside at the time.

John P. McNally Jr., 62, spent half his life in that home. He was caring for his 82-year-old mother at her home when a Pinellas sheriff's deputy called him.

"I have some very disturbing news for you," McNally said the deputy told him. "Your home has been damaged in a fire."

"How bad?" asked McNally, a volunteer teacher at Pinellas Technical Education Center.

"Bad," the deputy said.

After arriving home, McNally had to be consoled after he saw the bodies of two of his pets on the ground, wrapped in blankets. The oldest of his cats was 13, he said, the youngest 5.

His home was declared a total loss. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

During the clean-up, a firefighter offered McNally a folder of information to help him cope in the days ahead.

"Is there a coupon for a pizza in there?" McNally asked. "How about a six pack? Because I could sure use that."

St. Petersburg man loses home, pets in late night fire 12/11/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2009 11:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Odessa teacher arrested on theft charges after deputies say she stole from fellow teacher


    A Odessa elementary school teacher is facing theft charges after Hillsborough County deputies said she swiped money and a credit card from another teacher on the playground.

    Sylvia Clark, 58, a teacher at Hammond Elementary School in Odessa, faces charges after Hillsborough County deputies say she took money from a fellow teacher and used a stolen credit card. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Cubs, trying to get even with Joe Maddon


    After a tough 2-1 loss on Tuesday, the Rays take on the Cubs again tonight, looking to split the two-game series with former manager Joe Maddon.

    The Rays are starting young LHP Blake Snell, and the Cubs are starting veteran LHP Jon Lester.

    Here is the Rays lineup:

    Kiermaier cf,

  3. Mexicans dig through collapsed buildings as quake kills 225 (w/video)


    MEXICO CITY — Rescuers found a surviving child on Wednesday in the ruins of a school that collapsed in Mexico's magnitude 7.1 earthquake, one of many efforts across the city to try to save people trapped in debris under schools, homes and businesses toppled by the quake that killed at least 225 people.

    A man is rescued from a collapsed building in the Condesa neighborhood after an earthquake struck Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. The 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico, killing more than 100 people. [Associated Press]
  4. Hurricane Maria tears off roofs, triggers flooding in Puerto Rico



    [National Hurricane Center]
  5. Construction starts on USF medical school, the first piece of Tampa's Water Street project


    TAMPA — Dozens of workers in hard hats and boots were busy at work at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive Wednesday morning, signaling the start of construction on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    A rendering shows what the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute will look like when completed in 2019. Local officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate as construction begins on the facility, the first piece of the Water Street redevelopment area in downtown Tampa. [Rendering courtesy of the USF Health]