Sue Fleming The Freer Press
Freer firefighters arrived at the site of a house that had become consumed by fire located a few miles off of County Road 101, about 12 miles north of Freer on Highway 59, records show.
Albert Smalley who lives approximately a mile away, said he called in the report to 9-1-1 after first being alerted by a nearby neighbor.
"Yeah, he asked if I knew that this house was on fire and I looked over there and could bee a big, black ball of smoke and then when I drove up to it, it was all blazing," he said pointing. "I never dreamed I'd ever look up to see that house on fire and I sure didn't want it spreading to mine. That was my biggest concern."
Smalley said he worried, that he felt that fire spreading to his property was a possibility then due to strong winds blowing in a southern direction, toward his home.
"With all this dry brush around here, I could just see it all catching fire," he said. "It made me think of those terrible fires in California."
According to recent reports, more than 11 fires have ravaged more than 629,000 acres in parts of southern California during the past two weeks, burning more than 1,700 homes and claiming seven lives.
Smalley said to his knowledge, this house had been vacant with the electricity turned off for some time.
"I've lived here six years and I've only seen the owner of this house once, about four months ago," he said, "I don't think it had been used much-maybe during deer hunting season, that sort of thing."
Firefighters sprayed water from three fire trucks before completely extinguishing all of the hot spots. Duval County Sheriff's officials also responded.