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Residents return home after brush fires

7 homes evacuated Wednesday afternoon

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. – As neighbors along Ranchette Road and Oak Rim Lane in Volusia County went to bed Wednesday evening, they kept a close eye on their back yards as flareups from a brush fire remained a concern throughout the night.

The 150-acre fire burned one home to the ground. As of 8:30 a.m. Thursday., the fire was 90 percent contained, said Volusia County fire officials who remained on the scene in case hot spots caught the dry brush on fire.  Residents in the neighborhood near DeLand lost power because of damaged power poles, officials said.

"I saw the flames behind my house," said Sandy Thornton as she drove back home after spending the evening waiting for the fire to die down.

Thornton said she watched as fire spread through 150 acres, racing closer to her home, and rip through her neighbor's property. The couple who owns the home that burned down arrived back to the neighborhood about 9 p.m. and said they are staying with neighbors down the road.

"They lost it all. They lost everything. Their stables. There's nothing left. Their cars, their vehicles, everything's gone," said Leroy Foreman, who said neighbors had to tell the couple to get out because the fire was headed their way.

Neighbors said they helped save a half dozen horses as officials evacuated seven homes.

As some neighbors chose not to return, others came back relieved to find their homes untouched.

Thornton said she's ready, if they have to leave again.

"I have my pictures and important things in a plastic container. If I have to leave, I just take that," said Thornton. "I don't care about the other stuff. As long as I'm out, my dog's out, my cats out, I'm fine."

Fire officials said they had not yet determined what caused the fire, but said there were no reports of lightning in the area.

Meanwhile, a 25-acre fire in Lake County continued to burn in the Lake Mack Road area.

The fire, which was reported around 4 p.m. Wednesday, threatened structures in the area and burned a shed. Officials said the fire was surrounded by homes so it was hard for firefighters to access.

No injuries were reported in either fire.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.