Firefighters continue to battle brushfire near Naples as families return to destroyed homes


NEAR NAPLES, Fla. (WSVN) – Fire crews in Naples are locked in a blaze battle.

A massive brushfire took over a community and residents came home to find their homes destroyed.

“I thought my house was going to be gone, man, I really did,” said one resident.

The bushfire has been brought down to 900 acres as of Sunday afternoon.

The massive fire reached up to 1,500 acres at its peak on Sunday morning.

Officials said the fire is about 75% contained.

Despite the rapid progress, officials said it has been difficult work to extinguish the fire.

“When there’s traffic in an area where you have multiple units working to respond to a fire, it becomes one other obstacle that they need to navigate in order to most effectively and efficiently contain and put down the blaze,” said Melinda Avni with Florida Forest Service.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office lifted evacuation orders in the area on Sunday and homeowners returned to their homes.

Two homes looked intact from the outside but the inside was destroyed by the blaze.

“The fire rolled into the eves, caused this much damage and then it rolled into my daughter’s room, which is a complete devastation,” said homeowner Jonathan Perez.

Perez and his wife Tracy returned to their home on Sunday to find everything in their home, except the structure, destroyed.

“You can tell everything here is pretty much — it’s charred,” Jonathan said. “As you can tell it’s smoke damage everywhere.”

“My 14-year-old has nothing left, nothing. Every memoir, everything… sorry,” Tracy said as she fought back tears.

They said they don’t know what their next step will be but cleaning up is all they can do now.

“It’s beyond surreal,” said Tracy. “I don’t know a word for it. Everything is supposed to happen for a reason but I have no idea what God’s reason would be for this.”

The Perez family said Collier County officials are helping them find a temporary home.


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