Explosive house fire destroys east Orange County home

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An explosive house fire destroyed an east Orange County home Wednesday afternoon.

Orange County Fire Rescue said no one was in the 2,200-square-foot home near State Road 417 and Trevarthon Road when the flames broke out around 5:15 p.m.

Thick smoke could be seen for miles as firefighters battled the blaze. Thursday morning, only a shell of the home remained.

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Herman Velez, the homeowner’s son, said he’ll never forget the sight as he drove toward the home on Alvin Street after a neighbor called to tell him there was a fire in the area.

"I'm driving toward the house and I just see the big balls of smoke, black smoke," Velez said.

He said the family’s Chihuahua was inside the home and did not survive. His mother was taken to the hospital with a medical condition not related to the fire.

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Neighbors told Channel 9 that they heard explosions before they saw smoke and flames.

"I heard a couple of loud explosions, so I walked outside," said one neighbor. "Thought somebody was just lighting some fireworks off."

"Probably five or six things blew up. I don't know what it was, but the house is totally burned down."

Firefighters said there was ammunition inside the home, which exploded as the fire spread.

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It is not yet known what caused the fire, but officials continue to investigate.

Red Cross officials assisted in finding the residents temporary housing Wednesday evening.

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