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Kitchen fire damages home of mental health advocate

An 88-year-old woman was treated for minor smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in her home Wednesday morning, authorities said. Unharmed, Evelyn DeHart told officials that she might have left her stove on, sparking the blaze that destroyed her kitchen. As longtime president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill chapter in Hernando, DeHart is well-known in the county as an advocate for mental health issues. Hernando County Fire Rescue responded to DeHart's Sumter Drive home east of Brooksville about 10:30 a.m. and found her sitting in her motorized wheelchair across the street, a sheriff's report stated. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire in the kitchen and rescued her two cats, which were not injured. According to the report, the fire destroyed the kitchen and caused substantial smoke damage throughout the house. Officials later confirmed that the blaze originated on the stove and estimated the damage at $15,000.

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