Wakulla County Sheriff's Office Release
Wakulla County, FL - Two Wakulla County residential homes were destroyed following house fires during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 21, according to Wakulla County Sheriff Donnie Crum.
· At 12:37 a.m., Celeste Sutherland reported a house fire at 1634 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Road in Crawfordville. Deputy Gibby Gibson responded to the blaze and observed heavy smoke coming from the home and siding falling to the ground.
The fire originated in the kitchen of the home and the single occupant of the home, Sutherland, was able to get outside safely. Wakulla firefighters were able to put out the blaze, but the blaze destroyed the majority of the home.
The victim told investigators that she was cooking with grease in the kitchen and briefly left the room. When she returned to the kitchen she observed the entire kitchen on fire. Some bedrooms in the home survived the blaze.
A second occupant of the home was in Tallahassee at the time of the incident. There were no injuries and the American Red Cross was notified of the situation to provide assistance to the victims. Smoke and fire damage was estimated at $150,000. The fire was ruled an accident.
· At 1:10 a.m., Russell M. Lawler of Ochlockonee Bay reported a structure fire at 11 Joe Drive. The residents of the home were able to escape the fire with no injuries but the residence was fully engulfed when Deputy Ward Kromer arrived. Wakulla Firefighters were on scene attempting to put out the fire when Deputy Kromer arrived.
The residence was a total loss as a result of the fire and a 2004 GMC truck parked under the home on stilts was also destroyed. A 2012 Chevrolet truck and a vessel in the yard received heat damage. Lawler, his wife and two children escaped the home.
The fire is believed to have been caused by an accidental overload in the breaker box. The State Fire Marshal is still investigating. The fire damage to the home and vehicles is expected to exceed $100,000. The American Red Cross was contacted to assist the family. Detective Ryan Muse also investigated the fire.