Neighbors help rescue mother, daughter from Palatka house fire

2-story house destroyed built in 1920

PALATKA, Fla. – Investigators are trying to figure out what caused two house fires Monday morning in Palatka.

According to the assistant fire chief, the fire may have started in a two-story house and spread to the house next door.

The two-story home, built in 1920, was destroyed by the fire. The homeowner, David Walter, lives in Satsuma and was notified that the home was destroyed.

"I'm pretty much devastated," Walter said.

A woman and her 11-year-old daughter were in the neighboring home. They were able to get out safely thanks to neighbors like Arnest Valentine who lives across the street. 

"I heard a noise that sounded like someone was shooting a gun. Then I looked outside and I seen the fire," Valentine said. "When I was knocking on the door, they wouldn't come out. It scared me. Then, my friend, he came up. He knocked, and ran to the side."

"The second floor was already engulfed in flames,” said Richard Pitts who lives in the neighborhood. “I was just making sure that the people in the yellow house, they're neighbors, and friends, with my daughter, just wanted to make sure they were out of the house."

Walter said after looking through the rubble, he realized that his generators were missing. He said the incident wasn’t the first time he lost everything.

"I had a boat in a storm, took everything," Walter said. "Houses can be rebuilt. Lives can't."

At least one car at the home was also burned in the fire.


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