Neighbors on edge after brush fire threatened Hunter's Creek homes



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County brush fire in Hunter's Creek threatened homes Thursday, according to officials.

Fire officials said homes on Alavista Drive were evacuated as the fire is moved south toward SR-417.

SR-417 was closed in both directions between International Drive and John Young Parkway due to the fire, but it has since reopened.

The windy conditions brought the fire close to Hunter's Creek area homes, and then carried it away all within a few of hours, but it made for a very tense Thanksgiving afternoon.

Even after residents were allowed back into their homes, they didn't want to take any chances.

One resident sprayed around his home to make sure embers didn't spark up again.

Families were in the midst of preparing their Thanksgiving dinners, when they realized the brush fire was headed their way.

One of the residents said the fire was in the distance, and then it came close to the backyard within 20 minutes.

Firefighters worked fast to knock the fire down before it damaged homes.

"It's incredible that we were out here this morning and it was the way it was, and now, it's completely gone," said resident Leonard O'Conner.

The flames burned just feet from his house and turned the woods behind his backyard to smoldering ash.

"A neighbor came over with a garden hose and sprayed it down and it saved the house," O'Conner said.

The wind shift sent flames racing the other direction and that's when resident Chad Lindsay started to see smoke.

"I ran back to make sure my dog wasn't out because we came out so fast, and within seconds, coming just to where I'm standing now. We watched the fire cross this entire section here," said Lindsay.

The Orange County Fire Department sent nine fire engines and evacuated 25 to 30 homes as they worked with the Division of Forestry to cut fire lines to contain the blaze.

At its biggest, the firefighters said the blaze reached 50 to 60 acres.

Orange County Fire Department spokesman John Mulhall said, "We have talked to someone who was putting out embers from a previous bonfire. They dumped them outside and they believe that is what triggered the fire."