Lying awake in her bedroom Friday, Tina Lincicome was unaware that outside her door swirled columns of smoke and flames.
Minutes later, the blaze would leave the house a blackened shell.
But Mrs. Lincicome and her 2-year-old son managed to get out of the house because men repairing a home nearby banged on their front door.
"My bedroom door was shut," Mrs. Lincicome said. "When I got up, there was smoke all through the house. Thank God they came, or we would have been trapped in the bedroom."
The 11:55 a.m. fire destroyed the single-story, wood frame house at 463 38th Ave. N, said Carl Nasworthy, a district chief with the St. Petersburg Fire Department. The blaze also destroyed all the family's possessions, including a 1985 Isuzu Impulse, which was parked just west of the house.
Nasworthy said the fire was brought under control in about 10 minutes, but the old home continued to burn in small areas. "It looks like it's all gone," he said.
The cause of the fire was being investigated Friday. There were no reports of injuries, Nasworthy said.
Dave McGuirt was one of the construction workers who saved Mrs. Lincicome and her son, Erik, by alerting them to the fire. He said he did not know if anyone was in the house, but he didn't want to leave it to chance.
"We opened that front door and it was as black as tar in there," McGuirt said. "They lost every damn thing that they owned."
Mrs. Lincicome, 22, said she and her husband, 21-year-old Marc Lincicome, and their son moved into the house about a month ago. They family was renting the home.
Mrs. Lincicome said the family has no renter's insurance and only personal injury protection (PIP) insurance on their car. Nothing to cover property damage.
Marc Lincicome, who was at work at a local printing plant when the fire broke out, estimated the family lost about $30,000 in the blaze.
"We just got everything," he said. "I wonder how it happened."
Mrs. Lincicome said she arrived home about 6 a.m. from work at the Clock restaurant. When she got home, Marc Lincicome left for his job. She said she climbed into bed to sleep.
Mrs. Lincicome said she did not turn on the stove or an electric heater the family owns.
"I seriously doubt that anything was on," she said. "It was probably the wiring. The house is pretty old."
Mrs. Lincicome said she and Erik woke about 10:30 a.m. as they usually do. She didn't smell any smoke or hear anything unusual. She said she was about to get out of bed when she heard the banging on the door.
"I said, "Who the hell's banging on my front door like that?' " Mrs. Lincicome said. She said she opened the bedroom door and ran out. "I didn't grab anything.
"It took less than five minutes when it was burning," she said.