Sunday, June 24, 2018
Public safety

Holiday house fire kills two dogs

HOLIDAY — His dogs couldn't get out.

Lightning had crashed through the roof above Bill Stevens' bedroom, and the insulation in his ceiling caught fire. It was about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. Stevens and his wife, Penny, were at work.

When Pasco County firefighters arrived at 5240 Eagle Drive, about four minutes later, the one-story ranch house was engulfed. It took about 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze, which also damaged a neighbor's house. No one was injured, but the dogs didn't survive.

Pugsly, a 3-year-old boxer, and Echo, a 13-year-old greyhound, were found together in Stevens' bedroom.

Pugsly got her name because it fit her crazy personality, Stevens said. Echo is short for Echo Echo Rosebud, the name she had when they rescued her. She used to be a race dog.

"They were good puppies," he said, three hours after hurrying home from his job with the county to find the house he'd owned for 30 years destroyed.

Inside, sopping insulation, which had fallen from the ceilings, covered everything. It lay like mud on toys and a bowling trophy. A safe stood just inside the front door, still protecting its contents. Outside, a firewood stack was unburned, proof firefighters worked quickly enough to stop exterior walls from being consumed.

Yet fire officials declared the house a total loss, according to a news release. The Stevenses have insurance, though, and will stay with family until they can rebuild.

They're not leaving, Stevens said. They like the neighborhood.

Stevens' son Ben said some photos and important belongings survived, but not much else. The roof above what used to be his room was almost gone.

"This is the only house I've ever known," Ben Stevens said.

While reporters and firefighters cleared the scene, the Stevenses, their family and friends waited on the street for insurance adjusters to arrive. Someone ordered pizza.

The home can be rebuilt, Stevens said, but he won't get Echo and Pugsly back.

"They were my babies."

Contact Gage Bentley at [email protected] or (727) 869-6250. Follow @gagebentley.

Comments
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURGSuspect dead, 2 injured in home invasion, shootingThree people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the peop...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

Hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

A Tampa man suffered life-threatening injuries and his 3-year-old son is in serious condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as they went on a family bike ride Sunday afternoon."This is a family in a very tough situation," Tampa Police De...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

ST. PETERSBURG — A 22-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel after drinking and ran a red light, hitting and killing a motorcyclist Saturday night, police said.Just before midnight, Michael P. Majchrowski, 48, was riding a 2016 BMW motorcycle eastb...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Authorities find

Authorities find "inmate" who walked away from Bilirakis event

The 23-year-old man who authorities said walked away from a New Port Richey political event while under supervision of a treatment center on Saturday has been located.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office described Nicholas Moore, 23, as both an "inmate"...
Published: 06/23/18
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Published: 06/23/18
Tampa boy, 14, shot, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and on his way home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he fa...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Published: 06/22/18
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Published: 06/22/18
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Published: 06/22/18