Family Grateful, Despite Christmas Eve Fire

A family that lost their home in a Christmas eve fire in Jacksonville says they're grateful that things didn't turn out worse. Now they're working to rebuild from this holiday tragedy.

Homeowner Andy Fiel says, "There was a huge explosion the entire house vibrated."

It all happened on Christmas eve while Andy was asleep and his wife was getting ready. He says, "When I went into the kitchen I saw my curtains above the sink on fire and I saw the flame actually coming from the outside coming into the kitchen."

Multiple fire units were called in to fight the blaze on University Drive. Officials say it was an electrical malfunction on the portable generator connected to the house in the carport that caused the fire. The fuel tank on top of the generator erupted.

Andy's daughter Susan Teachout, who lives down the street, saw the flames that morning. "We ran outside, ran down the street, there was a police officer in the yard next to my dad and by that time there was a plume of smoke coming up from behind my dad's house."

Andy says, "I'm thankful the fact you know that I'm alive, my wife is alive and I'm glad we found our granddaughters dog."

The Fiel's are staying in a camper until the house is restored. They say their family and friends have been very helpful throughout this process.

The fire department says the car inside the carport is total loss and damage to the home is about $281,000.


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