Neighbors say they told authorities about potential squatter situation before deadly Westside fire

2 people dead, another injured in fire in Rolling Hills neighborhood

A man and woman died in an early morning fire in the Rolling Hills neighborhood.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man and woman died in an early morning fire in the Rolling Hills neighborhood.

A loud bang, and flames is what alerted a neighbor on McCargo Street to call 911. The neighbor asked to remain anonymous.

“I jumped out of bed I was like, let me check on my kids,” the neighbor said. “As soon as I walked into my daughter’s room, immediately I saw an orange glow. I opened her bedroom window and all I could see were flames.”

Firefighters got the call around 3:30 a.m. Thursday. They battled the flames, pulling a woman and a man out of the fire. Investigators said the woman died and paramedics rushed the man to the hospital. Crews later found another man dead inside the rubble.

“I am so sad and sorry for the lives that were lost,” said the neighbor.

The home did not have power and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said there was a possible squatter situation at the home. News4JAX has learned the home is a rental and was sold to an LLC last year.

Neighbors said they reported several complaints to the city and JSO about suspicious activity at the home for months.

“They would just be hauling trailer loads of junk in like all the time. One minute their yard would have a pile full of junk,” the neighbor said.

Neighbors said people would come and go from the home frequently, even children.

“All hours of the day, all hours of the night, not even vehicles, it could be vehicles but also foot traffic, a lot of walkers and bike riders,” the neighbor said.

The neighbor said police and city officials showed up to the home, but nothing changed.

“They would try to verify information with whoever it may have been who was at the home,” the neighbor said.

News4JAX has requested comment from the city about the neighbors’ concerns with the property. We have also requested the previous calls for service made to the home, but they have not been released yet.

We reached out to the owner of the property, but we hadn’t gotten a response by publication of this article.

Fire consumes a house on McCargo Street (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

According to JFRD, the home that burned is a total loss. The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

Anyone with information that can assist with the investigation is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. You can also provide information online at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.


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