That’s what first caught Ray Krebs’ attention Sunday night as he went across Island Drive in Lake City looking for what he thought was a small fire.
While using a water hose to put out the barbecue pit fire, he notice a bigger problem, smoke pouring out of one of the property’s four living units.
That’s when he heard a woman screaming, and he answered, trying to locate her through the thick, black smoke.
“Just keep hollerin,’” Krebs answered, as he followed the voice toward the lake and onto the property’s pier.
Unfortunately, that was downwind, and the smoke was as thick there as it was around the house.
He yelled at the woman to come off the pier and went to meet her. When he finally reached her, Krebs got her – and himself – out of the smoke and out of harm’s way before both collapsed on the ground, gasping for air.
By the time the Mathis Volunteer Fire Department arrived, the house was totally engulfed in flames. The firemen’s task became one of keeping the flames from spreading to neighboring property or structures.
The two-story house was a total loss, taking with it all the belonging of the two residents living in the house and its out-buildings.
The fire’s origin has not been determined, and the State Fire Marshal’s office has been called in to investigate the scene.
Earl McCraney and Leona Zarrella literally lost everything but the clothes on their backs.
A fund has been set up for the couple at Prosperity Bank. Those wanting to contribute may donate to the McCraney/Zarrella Fire Relief Fund.