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Two house fires erupt a half-hour apart in Hernando County

BROOKSVILLE — Firefighters are investigating the causes of a pair of house fires in Hernando County that happened within an hour of each other on Saturday afternoon.

The first fire was reported at about 6:30 p.m. at a home at 21176 Marguerite Road, north of Brooksville.

John Romine, who owns the home, returned to the house after visiting his mother and a friend to find the home ablaze.

Romine told investigators that he wasn't sure if he cut off the power to the toaster oven in the kitchen after warming a bagel that morning.

Fire officials determined the fire started in the kitchen but that further investigation of the blaze was needed.

"It was pretty much a total loss," Hernando County Fire Marshal Richard Tincher said Monday.

About 30 minutes later, Spring Hill Fire and Rescue responded to a report of a house fire at 13169 Santee Street in Spring Hill.

The flames had already reached the roof when firefighters arrived at the home, according to Chief Michael Rampino.

The homeowner, Ernest Clark, told investigators that the fire started when he spilled gasoline near a generator inside the porch of his house.

Clark was unable to put out the fire himself, and then called for help. Paramedics found him unconscious in the driveway.

Clark was taken to Oak Hill Hospital as a precaution but was later released. The American Red Cross is now assisting the man and his wife, Rampino said.

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com.

Two house fires erupt a half-hour apart in Hernando County 03/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 10, 2008 7:34pm]

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