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19: That's how many people evacuated a Golden Gate home when it caught fire

Some of the people inside were children, according to firefighters.
Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 19, 2024

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — Nineteen people were evacuated from a single home in Golden Gate after a fire broke out, officials say. Investigators believe that a single battery is what started the fire.

The Greater Naples Fire District responded to an emergency call on Thursday reporting the fire. When first responders arrived, they were able to put it out within just a few minutes and safely evacuate all 19 people from inside, some of whom were children.

Marta Vasquez rents the property and says she was at work when she found out what happened. With the help of a translator, she explained how everything unfolded.

"When she arrived at her house she saw so many fire trucks and police," Vasquez's translator explained.

First responders say a battery inside an electric bike is what sparked the fire. The family told Fox 4's Collier County Community Correspondent Mahmoud Bennett that the smoke and flames tore through much of the inside, leaving many of their belongings completely burned.

Now they'll have to find a new place to live as the owners make repairs.

"He will fix all the problems in the house, the burnings in the woods and all that stuff. And they're only asking her to move for maybe 12 days or maybe like 1 month to fix the problem in the house and then they can come back," Vasquez's translator said.

Golden Gate house fire April 19 19 people
One of Fox 4's Collier County Community Correspondents Mahmoud Bennett spoke with residents about a fire that forced 19 people to evacuate from the same home in Golden Gate on April 19.

The outside of the house is largely intact, but it's the inside that will need extensive work before it's safe.

Marta has been in contact with the Red Cross. Friends from around her neighborhood showed up to her house to help with the cleanup.

She says she and her family will stay with relatives nearby until repairs are complete.