JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A family is trying to move forward after losing everything in a house fire Monday evening on Jacksonville’s Southside.
Ruby Gerundo told News4JAX that she, her sister, Laura Wall, and Wall’s teenage son lived in the home on Glen Gardner Drive that went up in flames, leaving behind a shell of melted siding and charred support beams.
Wall, who owns the property, was the only person at home when the blaze started. Gerundo said Wall was in the burn unit in Gainesville on Tuesday after waking up from a medically-induced coma.
“It can take something as simple as a small spark to set your whole world on fire,” said Gerundo, who was wearing a shirt a neighbor gave her.
She said that spark came from a wall-mounted air conditioning unit in her nephew’s room.
“My sister heard pops,” Gerundo said. She said her sister opened her son’s bedroom door, and as she opened the door, the flames rushed at her too fast for her to avoid.
She said more than 20% of her sister’s body is burned.
“She’s already suffering a loss. Her husband passed away a year ago from stage 4 lung cancer,” Gerundo said. “Everything that belonged to him went up in flames with the house.”
She said that after he passed, they could no longer afford insurance.
Also lost in the fire were three cats and a bearded dragon. But the dog, named Tank, made it out.
“I am very grateful. He is a very rambunctious energetic dog,” Gerundo said. “I’m glad my sister’s life was not taken, thankfully. I know that she’s going to suffer, but I know that that’s going to be hard on her, but at least I’m glad I didn’t lose her.”
In the meantime, she said that they don’t have the money to rebuild or put down a deposit and that they are looking for a place to rent month to month.
“I’d be more than happy to pay,” she said. “I just need somebody to take a chance.”
A GoFundMe for the family has been created.