(ran SS edition of METRO & STATE)
About the only good things that happened to Andrew Laskaris on Monday were that he got some medication for his respiratory illness, and his mother was not in his house when it burned.
Laskaris, 20, was at a doctor's office when a friend called.
"He said something about a fire and my mother," Laskaris said.
"I just left and came home. Fortunately, nothing happened to my mother."
His house, however, was destroyed by an accidental fire.
Two Clearwater firefighters were injured in the blaze at 1714 Pinewood Drive after flames got into the attic.
Fire Operations Chief Jack Callahan said one had a minor neck burn that was treated at the scene, and the other was injured when part of a plaster ceiling fell on his head.
He was treated at Morton Plant Hospital and released.
Laskaris, who operates a pressure cleaning and maintenance business, left home to go to a job in St. Petersburg and to stop at a doctor's office.
About 10:30 a.m., an hour after he left, the fire started.
His mother lives across the street.
He discovered when he got home that she was not in his house when the fire started.
District fire Chief Randy Bacher said the fire was started by a short in an electrical cord in a bedroom.
A bed was against the cord and pinched it, causing it to fray and eventually short out.
Flames spread into the attic of the one-story house.
Bacher said it was difficult for firefighters to extinguish the blaze because the ceiling was collapsing.
"It was unsafe to put people on the roof," Bacher said. "We had some problems inside with the ceiling falling, so we had to pull our people back."
It took about 45 minutes to control the fire. Bacher estimated the loss at $75,000.
Laskaris said he had some insurance, but not enough to cover all he lost.
"Everything melted," Laskaris said. "It was supposed to be fireproof insulation in the attic."