PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Smoke filled the sky as firefighters hosed down the flames that overtook a Caloosa subdivision home.
"In this economic environment, a man really only has his home," said Steve Hansborough, who lives nearby. "That's his home. That's his castle. When that happens it's a tragedy."
Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue crews say the fire started in the back of the house. Capt. Don DeLucia said the house was owned by a former employee of the Miami-Dade Fire Department.
When firefighters showed up they say nobody was in the home and that the fire was already through the roof.
"The problem here is that it takes the fire department 30 minutes to get here and, with no fire hydrants, they have to set up and start pulling water off the canals," Hansborough said.
Hansborough says this fire is why his subdivision may need fire hydrants.
"A fire hydrant is a fire hydrant, 24/7," he said. "If you would've been out here before the rain started, there was a trickle in the canals."
But luckily that wasn't the case on this Sunday morning. About 20 units and more than 40 firefighters helped battle the blaze, and some of them pulled water from those nearby canals.
"Water is always an issue whether we have hydrants or not, so we do the best that we can," Capt. Houston Park of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue said. "Fortunately there are a lot of canals around here we've been able to utilize and, fortunately because of all the rain we've been getting, we had water to fight the fire."
Other than getting water, the hot and humid conditions were another obstacle for these firefighters. In shifts, Capt. DeLucia said, crews went in and out of the house to try and do what they could to help one of their own.
"It hits home," Capt. Park said about fighting a fire of a former firefighter's home. "We have reached out to that individual to make sure he's doing ok as we would do with anybody else, but it does hit home when it's one of our own."
The fire is still under investigation, but Capt. DeLucia said he believes there was $400,000 to $500,000 in estimated value lost in the blaze.