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Destin fire destroys home
DESTIN -- A New Year's Eve fire gutted a 5,000 square ft home in Okaloosa County.
Firefighters were called to the house on Indian Bayou Drive in Destin around 9 pm.
Neighbors told Channel Three's Laura Hussey they couldn't believe how fast the flames tore through the house.
Laura Hussey "Look at the roof, or what's left of the roof of this home on Indian Bayou in Destin. That will show you why this fire was so destructive. The outside walls remain standing, but nobody's living in that house."
This is what firefighters saw when they rolled up.
Chief Kevin Sasser says the fire had already swept through the top part of the house.
They had to fight it from outside because of the danger of ceilings collapsing.
The intensity and size of the flames brought Bernie Robin to his door.
Bernie "Oh, big just like in the movies, watching a movie, you know"
Other neighbors say they never knew a fire could grow so large, so quickly.
Allen Breslin/neighbor "It was just unbelievable. I think that was the most common phrase I heard uttered, that it was just unbelievable that a house could go up that fast"
The owner told firefighters it all started when a neighbor called to say that pinestraw in a flowerbed next to the house was burning.
The fire chief says flames from that small fire touched some stand-up paddleboards leaning on the house.
He says those burst into flames instantly, the stuff they're made from is extremely flammable.
With that push, the fire easily jumped to the eaves and the attic, then tore through the house.
Bernie "Oh my God. It was amazing"
The fire chief says it will be very difficult to determine what set the pine straw on fire.
Neighbors like Allen Breslin can't help but suspect fireworks.
Allen "Tell you what, everybody should check their fire insurance policy, 'cause you just never know"
Laura Hussey "One neighbor said this really made him think about all the stuff we have stored around our homes, and how much of it might be flammable."