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Three people and a dog escape fire unharmed

4:21 PM, Apr 5, 2013   |    comments
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  • Danielle Yarbrough and Johnny Rice, two who escaped the fire talk with FCN Reporter Mike Lyons after getting out unharmed

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. --  Three people in Vilano Beach woke up to a fiery surprise this morning. Around 3:30 a.m. flames broke out in a home in Vilano Beach that also was home to an art gallery.

Five fire units responded and had the fire out in about 20 minutes. The three adults inside made it out safely and had no injuries. The Red Cross is assisting the three displaced.

So far the cause of the fire is unknown, it is being investigated by a St. Johns County fire investigator.

When the fire broke out, three adults were sound asleep inside. Penny Kirk was sleeping in a back bedroom, and woke up when she heard a loud pop.

Billy Pringle, who also lived there, was out on his bicycle, but drove up at that instant to see flames coming from the house.

Danielle Yarbrough was one of those asleep inside.

"Penny didn't know the house was on fire, " said Yarbrough. "Billy Pringle showed up, said everything was on fire, woke us all up and got us out of there on time, he wasn't even on the property."

"Literally when I opened the front door I stepped out on the front porch I saw the flames and smoke, I had to run in after Mr. Johnny and the dog, we didn't have much time to get out of there. It was already filling the whole house with smoke. There was a lot of smoke."

Yarbrough said there was so much smoke she could barely see two feet in front of her.

"We're very fortunate to get out of there alive, we were sound asleep and the house is in flames and luckily Billy showed up. "

Johnny Rice was also asleep. He has lived there for about three years and operates Ye Olde Gallery out of the house. "We should be very happy with the fact that we got out of there unharmed and we are not laying up in a hospital and we didn't lose a life or a dog. "

A Labrador dog was also inside and got out safely. There were no injuries to firefighters as well.

Now the process begins to asses what worldly goods they lost.

The 67-year-old Rice is a longtime area resident and a well known artist in Vilano Beach, called the "Driftwood Messiah" by many. He operated a nautical art studio out of the house, painting and making sculptures out of driftwood. He was distraught, but believes his work tools are salvageable and some of his art work. He'll now try to resume operating his art gallery as soon as he can.

"You get up and go back to work, when the ox is in the ditch, you go to work."

First Coast News

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