3 escape Amelia Island house fire

Family says dad, a convicted felon, arrested for having gun in home

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – A Nassau County man who said he saved his daughter from a house fire early Wednesday morning was arrested soon after the fire destroyed their Amelia Island home, according to the man's family.

Oren "Andy" Strickland's wife also escaped the fire on Curnutte Drive. Strickland's family said he was arrested because investigators found a gun inside the house, and Strickland is a convicted felon.

Strickland said his 34-year-old daughter was in a bad accident eight years ago and can't walk or talk. When the fire broke out in the home about 3:45 a.m., he ran to her room and carried her out of the house.

"I just scooped her up and took her out. It just happened so fast," Strickland said. "I toted her out and put her in the yard and was turned around to get back in and get some blankets and it was just overcome with smoke."

Andy Strickland said he realized something was wrong after his wife screamed and yelled and then he saw flames coming through a window. He said he grabbed his phone, called the fire department and then ran to wake up his daughter.

Strickland's other daughter, Amanda Strickland, said she's thankful her father was able to save her sister.

"I have no idea how he did it," Amanda Strickland said. "His leg is messed up. I really have no idea how he did it. It's amazing. I'm very grateful, and I'm proud of him for doing that."

No injuries were reported, but the home and the family's car are a total loss. The family also can't find its Pekingese named Beauregard.

Amanda Strickland said the family doesn't have insurance, and her mother and sister are being helped by the Red Cross, which has put them up in a hotel for now. She said she's not sure where they'll stay after that, but she knows they'll need help.

She told News4Jax that her father went before a judge after the arrest Wednesday and that the judge released him.

Fernandina Beach firefighters said the cause of the fire is unknown. State fire marshals are investigating.