Elderly man injured in St. Augustine house fire

Home severely damaged in overnight fire after space heater left on porch

Cathedral Place house fire
Cathedral Place house fire

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – An elderly man was rushed to a hospital Friday after his home caught on fire in St. Johns County.

Firefighters from the St. Johns County Fire and Rescue Department were dispatched to the home on Cathedral Place, just north of King Street, around 1:30 a.m.

Flames could be seen shooting through the roof of the man's home. A family member who lives nearby noticed the fire and called 911.

Lloyd Cooper came by as soon as he heard about the fire at his father's home. He said his father, Ernest Brown Jr., is in his late 70s and was home alone, sleeping, when the fire started.

Brown was taken to Flagler Hospital for smoke inhalation and his son believes his father will be OK.

The fire tore through the front of the home, where his father was sleeping. Brown told first responders he had a small heater plugged in on the front porch of hte house that had been running for at least a couple of hours. He said he was in the living room when he smelled smoke coming from the front porch.

Cooper said his family has owned the house for more than 40 years. Seeing it in this condition and knowing that his father was inside alone when it caught on fire is heartbreaking.

"I'm just thankful that someone was around and was able to get him out of there," Cooper said.

The American Red Cross will be assisting the family. As for the home, Cooper said he doesn't know what they'll do with it, and they may need to tear it down and start all over. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but fire rescue said it did not appear suspicious.

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