Fire destroys unoccupied home

Blaze gives recent fire academy grads first real-world battle

By Chris Parenteau - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A home was destroyed by fire Saturday on Franklin Street in the city's Phoenix neighborhood, the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said.

When fire crews arrived at the house on Franklin Street, near Winthrop Street, flames were tearing through the first and second floors. 

The man who claims to be the homeowner, Roosevelt Roundtree, told News4Jax that no one was living there. 

"This ain't the first house around here burnt like that," Roundtree said. "One right around the corner burned about a month ago -- it was burnt down. So someone's going around and just burning them up." 

Firefighters, however, said neighbors told them that Roundtree does lives in the home.

"Real terrible, real terrible, because the guy that usually stays there, that's his truck (referring to the homeowner's truck)," Elliot Sims said. "So I thought he was in there. But they say, nobody in there."

Roundtree claims that the house was mainly used for storage.

Fire crews said the fire happened during a shift change, which made for a hectic scene and prolonged their efforts. And for some of the firefighters at the scene, it was their first shift with JFRD as recent firefighter academy graduates.

Roundtree said he is disappointed that everything inside the home is gone, and told News4Jax that he believes someone started the fire.

"Thank God there wasn't nobody in there, and ain't nobody get hurt. That's the main thing," Roundtree said. 

Firefighters said they believe the fire started outside of the home. A fire marshal is investigating the fire, officials said.

Some firefighters received medical attention at the scene, but it appeared to be precautionary. There were no official reports of injuries.

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