A Hillsborough County veteran lost his truck and much of his home to a fire early Sunday morning, authorities said.

  • Fire broke out at home located on Falkenburg Road
  • Firefighters arrived to find a pickup truck, home on fire
  • The homeowner was not injured

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue was dispatched at about 1:30 a.m. to a fire in the 4500 block of Falkenburg Road in the Sabal Park area.

When firefighters arrived, they found a pickup truck and part of the house on fire.

The homeowner, Craig Kirkland, was at home at the time but was not injured. No one else was inside the home.

Kirkland was sleeping in a back bedroom when the fire started. He said a couple driving by saw the fire and pulled over to help.

"The couple that pulled over told me, were hollering, ‘Your truck’s on fire, your truck’s on fire!’ That’s when I grabbed the keys and tried to move it but the windshield exploded on me,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland said fire investigators told him the fire started under the hood of his truck because of a defective cruise control switch.

According to the Center for Auto Safety, Ford recalled millions of its vehicles because the defective switch was hot or powered at all times. That could cause the short circuit and the car to catch fire while the engine is off.

Kirkland said he was not aware of the recall, but knows he’s extremely lucky.

"I am thankful that I decided to start backing my truck in because of all the rain and that couple stopped by. If I had pulled it in, people who drove by would have never seen the fire. And as quick as that roof caught I would have never got out."

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire without incident. The Red Cross was called in to assist Kirkland.