Fire damages Atlantic Beach home


ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Fire heavily damaged an Atlantic Beach home late Thursday morning.

Firefighters were called to the home in the 1300 block of West Plaza Street, along the Intracoastal Waterway.

No injuries were reported, but the homeowner said her pets died in the blaze. No one was home at the time.

Crews from Jacksonville Fire-Rescue, U.S. Navy Fire Rescue and Atlantic Beach police were at the scene.

Neighbors said there is an issue with safety in the area because there are no fire hydrants and rescuers did not bring tankers until much later. They said that's why the house was nearly destroyed.

Neighbors said it took 15 minutes for rescue crews to arrive. Jacksonville Fire-Rescue said it was notified at 12:05 p.m. and arrived at 12:10 p.m.

Neighbors said the issue is whether or not it took too long for local No. 1 dispatchers in Atlantic Beach to transfer the call to Fire-Rescue.

"I live in the house right here. The house next door had embers in the front lawn," resident Cathy Meyer said. "The fire departments took too long to get here, 15 minutes to get here after the phone was transferred four times before they got here, before they could get anybody on the line. It's took 15 minutes for the first crews to get here. Yes."

Atlantic Beach police said dispatchers got the first 911 call at 12:04 p.m. and immediately sent officers and transferred the call to Jacksonville Fire-Rescue. Fire officials said they sent crews at 12:05 p.m., police arrived at 12:08 p.m. and the first firefighters got there at 12:10 p.m.

The State Fire Marshal was investigating to determine the cause of the fire.

The homeowner said the good news is she has great neighbors and they're giving them a place to stay and taking care of them during this difficult time.