An elderly couple were forced from their home and taken to an area hospital Tuesday afternoon after a fire caused extensive damage to their double-wide mobile home.
Fire officials are investigating the cause of the blaze at 7524 First Circle Drive. Hernando County Fire Marshal Richard Tincher said fire officials want to talk to a man who was reportedly doing some repair work underneath the home. The man, who wasn't immediately identified, told the couple their home was on fire and then left the scene, Tincher said.
"For whatever reason, he left," Tincher said. "I don't believe he was fleeing the scene or that he was doing anything wrong. But, of course, that could change."
Though officials declined to release the names of the married couple living in the home, neighbors and friends identified them as James Satiroff and Shirley Urich. Property records list Satiroff and Urich as owners of the two-bedroom, two-bathroom mobile home.
The two were taken to Oak Hill Hospital for observation and treatment of minor smoke inhalation, fire officials said. Their black French poodle, Pierre, was unharmed in the fire and was placed in the care of a neighbor. "He's their baby," neighbor Martha Gandy said of the dog. "They were all pretty shaken up."
The blaze, which was reported about 2 p.m., left the home gutted. According to reports, the High Point Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene about 10 minutes after the initial call to find smoke pouring out of the home.
"It was burning pretty good when we arrived," said Captain Austin Mosley of the High Point department. "It's a mobile home, so a fire would spread very fast."
Firefighters also had problems ventilating the home during the blaze because of items stored throughout the home, said Hernando County District Chief Robert Miller.
The owner managed to move a late-model Ford Mustang away from the flames but was unable to save a Crown Victoria because the keys were inside the burning home.
Joel Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 754-6120.