Jacksonville family left homeless by apartment fire shares story

Teri Owens lived next door to woman accused of starting the fire

Teri Owens lived next door to woman accused of starting the fire.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A family was left homeless after a fire at the Jacksonville Heights apartments off 103rd street. They are among the nearly 30 people without a place to live. Investigators say it was intentionally set by a woman who said there were demons in her home.

A family who lives next door to the woman lost everything and spoke with News4JAX on Monday. “I was right next door the actual fire so everything went up in smoke, literally,” Terri Owens said.

Owens has three kids and said this fire was the second one set that day by her neighbor.

Teri Owens and children (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“She started a fire inside her home earlier that day. I was coming home from church service and I know there’s a lot of smoke, heavy smoke, coming out of the two front windows,” Owens said. “So I ran up there to rescue her, to see if she was okay. She had a water bottle and she squirted me to get out of the apartment so I did...six hours later it was just a blaze.”

Inside Teri Owen’s apartment - furniture, electronics, clothing - all ruined by the smoke and water. Now she and her three kids are starting over.

Teri is getting some help. A family friend lives in the complex and Teri and the kids are staying with them. She tells News4JAX the complex has promised her another apartment.

She has reached out for help with a gofundme account. Teri said the outpouring of help has been awesome and she is now getting ready to try and start over again

The woman investigators said started the fire was taken to the hospital and will be charged with arson.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.