ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Even as he sifted through the charred mounds of rubble that used to be his home, Brent Jordan still had a smile on his face, because life has a way of hiding humor under a pile of devastation.
"Of all the things that would make it, (I found my wife's) high school cheer sticks," he joked as he carried a white container from outside the remains of his home near Windermere.
Firefighters were called out Thursday afternoon to the 12000 block of Butler Bay Court, where they were met with flames spreading throughout the 5,000-square-foot home.
"The home is, at this point, a total loss," said Carrie Proudfit, spokesperson for Orange County Fire Rescue.
Hoses lined much of the street when it happened, as the nearest fire hydrant to this home was more than 3,000 feet away, or about two-thirds of a mile, which was a complaint News 6 heard from neighbors.
News 6 has learned that code regulations have changed since this neighborhood was built in 1996. If it were built today, fire officials said, there would need to be a fire hydrant, at most, 800 feet away from every home.
But Jordan admits a closer hydrant wouldn't have saved his home. And he's OK with that.
Firefighters stopped by the home Friday afternoon to search for hot spots, while Jordan made his way through the debris searching for any mementos that may have survived.
He salvaged a container filled with wedding videos, and baby photos; a container that brought tears to his wife's eyes.
"How those made it underneath those steps, I don't know," he said.
Several fundraisers have popped up online meant to support Jordan, his wife, and their three children. While he is grateful for all the community support, Jordan is asking anyone looking to help, to instead make a donation to the Hewell Kids Kidney Center at Arnold Palmer Hospital.
Jordan explained how the home is insured and how his family will still be alright.
The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating an official cause, but firefighters say they believe lightning struck the home.