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Golden Gate Estates family shares terrifying escape from 14th Avenue fire

Posted at 12:28 PM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 16:56:31-04

GOLDEN GATE ESTATES - FLA. — Kristi Tillman tried to comfort her 2-year-old son as they narrowly escaped the 14th Avenue South fire taking over Golden Gate Estates.

PHOTOS: Photos from the fire in Golden Gate

“I had no idea if my tires were going to pop or what could happen so I just warned him it’s going to be hot it’s going to be hot,” said Kristi Tillman.

Tillman described her escape as something out of a movie.

“It was only hot for 5 seconds and we were past that, but you don’t want to have to experience something like that, especially for your son to experience something like that. I wasn’t sure how far in front of my face I could see so I ended up turning on my brights and just going really slowly, and hoping that anybody that’s driving through that has their brights on. It’s worse than any rainstorm I’ve ever driven in,” said Tillman.

Nervous about the potential damage and not knowing what she would come home to Tillman and her family grabbed what they could in a moment's time.

“So we initially decided to take one car just because it’s easier to be in a car together, everyone is one vehicle and you don’t have to worry about where the other person is. Then when we saw the flames on our street which from our house we couldn’t see, we decided it would be best to go back and get the UTV and the other car,” said Tillman.

Tillman and her family are thankful to be alive and out of harm's way. Right now she is hoping for the best for anyone else who might be impacted.

“Knowing how bad the fire is I hope that everyone is okay. I know not all the houses are going to be okay but I know firefighters are doing everything they can to keep people safe and to keep the houses safe, so thank you,” said Tillman.