IRMA: Power restoration may have sparked Flagler house fire

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, September 18, 2017, 6:48 PM EDT

Hurricane Irma may have been long gone when the Martin family lost their Flagler County home last Friday, but it may still be to blame.

  • Flagler home caught fire Friday afternoon
  • Family says fire began after power was restored
  • County fire chief says it was sparked at the breaker box

"I stopped to think of all the things I would've gathered -- 68 years of marriage," said homeowner Grace Martin, 90.

Martin said the fire that claimed her home burned quickly once the power was restored after Irma.

"I had no idea how terrible it would be. The minute they turned on the electric over there, the house went up that fast," said Martin.

Years of memories were quickly erased and covered in ashes as the home burst into flames. The fire marshal's office is now investigating the exact cause, but the county fire chief said the fire sparked at the breaker box.

"Everything burned. You can see the trailer, everything burned, there's nothing left," said son John Martin. "Different things she had of my dad's that meant something to her is gone now. It was a beautiful home. All nice walls, painted pretty, everything a lot of pictures."

"I've got to stop thinking 'I lost this, I lost that' and I'll get by," said Grace Martin.

Martin's husband built a barn by hand that her family was grateful to still see standing after the fire.

"This would've broke his heart. At least they saved his barn. He built that barn," said Martin.

The Martins said fire has claimed their homes twice since 1960. Now they're forced to move on again. But they're thankful for those who are already coming to their rescue, and hopeful for help from FEMA.

"I just appreciate everything everybody is doing. I've got to be thankful that I was saved, you know, and that my kids are alright. I have to be thankful for the Lord," said Martin.

FEMA said if people have damage related to Irma, report the damage and let them know you need to relocate when you register with FEMA, so they can help with temporary housing.

Also, the county fire chief said make sure everything in the house is off before the power is turned back on, especially check your lights, stoves, appliances and air conditioners.

If you'd like to help this family, drop off locations have been set up. They're accepting clothes and monetary donations. A GoFundMe account has also been set up.

DROP OFF LOCATIONS

  • Blums Auto Mart / Daytona Jeep Rental
    5584 S. Nova Rd, Port Orange FL 32127
  • Sporty's Car Wash
    1810 S. Woodland Blvd, Deland FL 32720

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