JFRD: Fire at abandoned home in Jacksonville’s Panama Park likely started by people seeking warmth

Jacksonville home destroyed in massive fire in

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Flames engulfed an abandoned home in Jacksonville’s Panama Park neighborhood early Tuesday.

Kelly Frye was sitting on her porch when she saw the fire across the street.

“There was some kind of crackling noise. I look up and it’s just huge,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh God, I hope no one is in there.’”

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She called 911 and watched as firefighters got control of the flames in the house at East 63rd and Russell streets.

The fire destroyed the back of the home and spread to a shed on the property.

Action News Jax saw investigators picking through debris and a K-9 searching for any signs of what started the fire.

“It’s a cold night, an abandoned house. Maybe someone just trying to get some shelter, some heat,” Frye said.

JFRD confirms its firefighters believe someone was inside the house trying to stay warm when the fire started.

An Action News Jax crew saw “no trespassing” signs in the windows.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office said the home appeared to be abandoned but neighbors told Action News Jax they’ve seen people going in and out.

A city of Jacksonville code enforcement officer condemned the home because of the extensive damage.

Action News Jax asked city officials what families can do if they believe people are trespassing. They said to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 904-630-0500.

As the fire marshal works to determine the cause, Frye said she’s glad the flames didn't spread to the church or homes next door.

“Jacksonville Fire Rescue, God bless them. They were here in two minutes,” she said.

Fire in Panama Park under investigation