Family thankful to survive fire that destroyed Marion County home

Fire caused by space heater

OCALA, Fla. – An Ocala mother is counting her blessing after she says a fire destroyed the home where she and her five children lived.

The Marion County Fire Department said the fire was likely caused by a space heater on the back porch of the home located on the 9000 block of Southeast 88th Street in Ocala.

Angel Thomas said she was sleeping when she heard a noise.

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“I walked down the hall and to my kitchen and it was just ablaze,” Thomas said.

Thomas said she quickly woke up her five children to get out of the home.

“I woke up my kids and I’m like, ‘We have to go. We’ve got to get out. It’s a fire, we have to go,’” Thomas said.

The Marion County Fire Department said the fire was likely caused by a space heater on the back porch. Investigators wrote the fire appears to have started in that area as well.

Once the family got out safely and awaited fire crews to arrive, Thomas said her daughter asked the family to take part in a prayer.

“My baby, she was like, ‘Mommy can we just pray?’ And I’m like, ‘Let’s pray,’ and we just prayed.”

Thomas said almost all the family’s belongings have been destroyed but are thankful her family is safe.

“People could be picking out six caskets for me and my kids. That didn’t happen. We are still here,” Thomas said.

Thomas also said that she was thankful her vehicle still runs, despite having burn damage from the fire.

The family has set up a donation account at PNC Bank, located at 500 SW College Road in Ocala. Donations can be made out to Angel Thomas.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.