Port Orange, FL - Two cats are dead in the wake of a fire which completely destroyed a ranch-style home in Port Orange near Sweetwater Elementary School.
The Port Orange Fire Department responded to the scene at 5720 Stewart Avenue soon after multiple passerbys called 911 around 2:25 p.m. today.
POFD Chief Ken Fustin says the homeowner was on the property but inside an unattached building he used as a workshop when the fire started on the roof of the roughly 2,500 square foot home, likely from a lightning strike in heavy rain.
"Around 20, 30 minutes into the fire, while our crews were on scene fighting the fire, he came out of the woodshop [and] had no idea his home was on fire," Fustin added.
The homeowner's wife - who is the only other person living there - wasn't home at the time, according to Fustin.
Scanner traffic indicated first responders were able to spot the large smoke column well before arrival at the home.
The damage estimate is around $420,000, with total losses declared to the home as well as a pickup truck and a camper on the property.
Fire crews will be on the property for much of the night to mop up any hotspots.