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Family living near brush fire considered 'evacuating'

The fire was just west of the Alton Town Center Shopping Mall in Palm Beach Gardens
Posted at 12:15 AM, May 28, 2024

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A hot and dry Memorial Day went up in flames on Monday afternoon when a brush fire broke out near the Alton neighborhood, south of Donald Ross Road.

"It could be dangerous, we thought we had to evacuate honestly," said Samson Scarola. "My dad came home screaming saying, 'Oh my God, there's a fire!"

Samson said his family lives a quarter mile away from where the fire broke out and said they called 911.

“My wife wanted to run for her life when she saw the black smoke rising, being taken away," said David Samson.

David said he regularly walks past the brush fire area that burned at least two acres.

"My concern is I don't want to see this area destroyed," said David Samson. "Every day I come in the morning I see coyotes, I see bobcats, so the natural area is very important to me."

His concern was also felt by Ted Roets who lives near the fire.

"There’s a bobcat that lives right here that’s actually why I came over here to make sure the bobcat was OK," said Roets, who said he calls the bobcat 'Bob'. "His home hasn’t been affected so I think he’s OK."

Roets said he didn't know about the fire until he saw it on the news, then heard a helicopter and got a phone call from a friend asking him if he was OK.

"When somebody told you there's a fire by your house, what was your reaction?" asked WPTV reporter Joel Lopez.

"Well, my reaction was I need to find out what’s happening in case there is a concern," said Roets.

The fire caused portions of Donald Ross Road leading up to the impacted area to be closed off.

The fire was just west of the Alton Town Center Shopping Mall that has Miller's Ale House, Publix and a Home Depot.

"It’s pretty worrisome. I mean Alton is right here, there’s a lot of children, a lot of pets, a lot of animals right in the back yard,” said Jennifer Castro, who lives down the street from the fire.

Castro was running down Donald Ross Road when she noticed the smoke.

This just doesn’t happen every day in Palm Beach Gardens or Jupiter," said Castro. "I typically actually run that way and head north, it’s a nice green area."

Neighbors said it's been hot and dry conditions recently in that area, but so far, no word on what started the fire.

Overall they said they feel safe after seeing the large amount of effort from first responders.