Lehigh family loses home in 400 acre fire

Posted at 11:07 PM, Apr 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-22 23:07:40-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. -- Fox 4 spoke with a father, Saturday, whose home was destroyed as a result of a 400 acre fire in Lehigh Acres.

Four homes have been destroyed and 15 others have been damaged, along with 21 cars after 400 acres burned in Lehigh. Fire crews are still on scene putting out hotspots, although the flame is 100% contained. 

Fox 4 spoke with Jorge Rivera, as he was rummaging through what was left of his home on 24th Street West. Thankfully, no one was home at the time. His weeding ring was about the only item recovered. His car was a total loss, as well as everything in his 7-month-old son's room. "It hurts a little. It does hurt," he said.

Fire officials tell Fox 4 the source of the fire was a discarded cigarette. "The sheriff's office and a neighbor of this area actually saw the fire start," said Christie Knudsen, from South Trail Fire Rescue. 

Rivera hopes people will be more cautious handling fire during dry weather conditions, as it cost him his home. However, he can't help but be thankful for the safety of his family. He says all material items can be replaced. "I'm more emotional because of family and friends. This is just stuff," he said. "My family and friends have stepped up and we're going to be okay."

The American Red Cross is helping families who have been displaced because of the fire. If you need assistance, their hotline phone number is 1-877-741-1444.