Firefighters investigate cause of Northside mobile home blaze

Cat killed in fire on Starratt Road


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Investigators are trying to to determine how a mobile home caught fire Thursday afternoon in The Cape area, near Oceanway, on Jacksonville's Northside.

Firefighters responded about 2:30 p.m. to the blaze on Starratt Road.

According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the bulk of the flames was contained to the kitchen, but there was significant smoke damage throughout the home. 

No one was inside the home when the fire started and no injuries were reported.

Unfortunately, authorities confirmed, a cat died from smoke inhalation. 

The homeowner, Cendy Lavelle, told News4Jax that she was away from home, helping a disabled friend, when she received a disturbing phone call from her boyfriend. She asked him what was going on.

"'You're house is on fire.' I said, 'Oh my God,'" Lavelle said.

She said she raced back home to find several fire crews working to get the blaze under control.

Fire investigators said the blaze may have been electrical. 

“They’re saying it could have been electrical. But it was in the kitchen, so it could have been the stove," she said. "I have a roommate who said he was going to cook, but decided not to and I asked him point blank, had he cut it off? And he said, 'Yes.'”

But a neighbor told the homeowner that the fire may have been caused by a lightning strike.

“He said it hit something really hard," Lavelle said. "It scared him and his daughter enough, so they ran inside."

Lavelle’s 1-year-old cat named “Little Bit” died in the fire. But her big concern was over her children's photos. 

“You can get new clothes, furniture and even another cat. I don’t mean to sound bad on that aspect, but you can’t bring back that moment in time to get that picture back," she said.

Lavelle said the home was not insured and, if push comes to shove, she and her boyfriend will just live on their boat that’s parked out front. 

Fire investigators said the fire did not appear to be suspicious. 

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