MARTIN COUNTY, Fla.
The Florida Forestry Service has ruled the cause of a wildfire in Martin County on Sunday to be suspicious.
The cause is still under investigation, but officials say it was not the result of an authorized burn.
The fire started around noon Sunday, and spread to about 22 acres within about three hours, according to the Florida Forestry Service.
The fire spread to both the north and south sides of Salerno Road.
Fire officials say they will remain watchful for hot spots for the next day or two, making sure nothing can reignite and continue causing damage.
The Florida Forestry Service says 22 homes were at risk from the fire.
"You get the chills when you come back here, just from the potential devastation," said nearby resident Janine Wilde.
The fire spread into her backyard, covering the area with soot and burning a work shed.
It all happened while she and her husband were two hours out of town.
"We get the news that this is going on and you just can't get home fast enough," said Wilde.
Meanwhile, Martin County Fire Rescue rushed to extinguish the blaze. Martin County Battalion Chief Hoss Wiggins watched the fire from his home in the middle of the smoke and fire.
"You're never really off duty," Wiggins said.
Wiggins lives next door to Wilde and helped protect her pets while she rushed home.
"The smoke had gotten so thick that standing where I am now, I couldn't see their house," Wiggins said.
Wiggins says it was a rare chance to watch his firefighters from the sidelines.
"Kind of sit on the sidelines and watch our fire rescue personel in action," Wiggins said.
He says he proud of the job they did preventing any homes from being damaged and anyone from getting hurt.
Janelle is now looking to clean up, but thankful her home is safe.
"It's scary the thought of what could have happened," said Janelle.
Officials with the Florida Forestry Service expect conditions to remain smoky Monday morning.