CREATED Feb. 22, 2013
SANIBEL ISLAND - An early-morning fire reduces a man's home to rubble on Sanibel Island.
The house fire comes less than a week after three houses burned down on Captiva Island. Fire crews say, the back-to-back island home fires are extremely rare.
Four In Your Corner's Colleen Hogan was reporting live from the scene all morning Friday.
35 firefighters from Sanibel, Iona and Ft. Myers Beach fire departments worked for hours, cutting down the blaze at a home on Bunting Lane.
The call came in at 3:15 a.m. and crews were on scene by 3:20 a.m., according to Sanibel Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Matthew Scott. He says the home was fully engulfed when they arrived.
A man and his young son were able to escape, thanks to smoke detectors in the home, according to neighbor Skip Dunn who lives right across the street and has known the family for many years. Dunn identifies the homeowner as Bert Smith, who is a Sanibel city employee.
The home is tucked off the road in a neighborhood just off the island's main drag, Periwinkle.
Police officers alerted surrounding homeowners to the fire. Dunn grabbed the hose and started watering his lawn.
"Embers were coming into our yard, so we were watering down the yard to keep the fire from spreading," he said.
Despite the scene, neighbors who lived further down the street say they slept through the whole thing. Seasonal resident Kristine Norton was out walking her Boston Terrier when she heard the news.
"It's just really sad that anyone's house gets destroyed," she said. "I feel really sad for the family."
Colleen Hogan, reporter