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Fire destroys garage, van north of Weeki Wachee

A fire consumed a garage, a minivan and part of a $300,000 house in a gated community inside Woodland Waters Thursday afternoon. No one was injured.

The fire was brought under control within 30 minutes but not before gutting the garage of the house at 10180 Feather Ridge Drive inside the Enclave of Woodland Waters, a subdivision north of Weeki Wachee. The fire also reduced the owners' van, a Dodge Caravan, to a metal skeleton.

Hernando County Fire Rescue Chief Mike Nickerson couldn't say immediately how the fire started or how much damage it caused.

The fire did not touch any other homes, although it spread to about 5 acres of woods and brush behind the house. That fire took firefighters about an hour to extinguish. Smoke from the blaze could be seen from as far away as Highway 50 Thursday afternoon.

Owner Amy Del Vecchio said she was inside the house when the burglar alarm went off about 1:15 p.m. She got outside safely and called emergency services and her husband, Tom, at work.

"I've no idea what happened, I just don't know," said Amy Del Vecchio, who kept shaking her head and holding her hand to her face.

Originally from Pittsburgh, the couple had moved to Hernando County from Knoxville, Tenn., said Tom Del Vecchio.

The three-bedroom house is in a neighborhood where many of the lots are still under construction. Several of the homes in the area are valued at more than $200,000.

Fire marshals were investigating the cause of the fire late Thursday afternoon.

"There was some damage inside the house, but the fire was contained basically to the garage," said Danny Roberts, operations chief for Hernando County Fire Rescue.

_ Jennifer Liberto can be reached at 848-1434 or libertosptimes.com.

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