Man who called 911 to report port-a-potty fire: 'I didn't know what to think'

Remains found while firefighters were searching through rubble

By Corley Peel - Reporter

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - An autopsy was performed Monday morning on the woman whose remains were found inside a port-a-potty that burned Saturday in St. Johns County. 

The fire marshal has not yet determined the cause of the fire, which was isolated to the portable restroom outside a home under construction on Horseshoe Road, but News4Jax on Monday received the 911 call made by Chris Gouge, who said he heard a loud boom and then saw the flames.

911 caller: "I just walked out this morning, I was getting ready to do some yard work. And I just looked across the street the port-a-potty is on fire. I have no idea how."
911 operator: "OK."
Caller: "There is a bunch of palmettos around. It's doing OK. People are not in danger."
Operator: "How big are the flames would you say?"
Caller: "I'd say about 8 feet."
Operator: "OK. Is the entire thing on fire?"
Caller: "Oh yeah. It's almost all gone."

LISTEN: Caller reports port-a-potty fire

After the fire was out, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, firefighters searched through the rubble and found human remains believed to belong to a woman. 

"I didn't know what to think, to be honest with you -- very surprised," Gouge told News4Jax on Monday. "To have something like that happen in our neighborhood is definitely disturbing, all of us agree. We watch each others homes and take a very close look at the neighborhood and it was unfortunate."

The results of the autopsy and the woman's identify have not yet been released. The Sheriff's Office said it does not have any missing persons reports at this time, but the investigation is ongoing. 

Deputies said it's unclear whether a crime was committed before the fire or whether an accelerant was used. 

Gouge said he knows the owners of the property, and said they are disturbed about what happened and hope detectives can solve the case soon. 

"We bless the family and the victim that this happened and hopefully we can move on from here," he said.

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