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Residential Fire on Ridge Road in Santa Rosa Beach

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July 15, 2023 | FLORIDA Mackenzie McClintock, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. – South Walton Fire District firefighters responded to a residential structure fire Saturday afternoon, July 15th, on Ridge Road in Santa Rosa Beach.

The incident originated at approximately 3:35 p.m. when Truck 4 firefighters were in the area due to a previous incident and noticed a plume of smoke. They relayed to SWFD Dispatchers that they were heading to investigate the source of the smoke and believed additional units could be necessary. As Truck 4 firefighters were investigating, dispatchers began receiving 911 calls from Ridge Road reporting a home was on fire.

Firefighters arrived on-scene scene at 3:41 p.m. and reported heavy smoke and fire showing from the back of a residence. Bystanders also informed firefighters that a dog was potentially trapped within the home.

Crews quickly forced entry, initiated a search, and secured a water supply. Firefighters encountered high heat conditions and low visibility during their search, but fortunately, they located the dog underneath a bedroom dresser with the use of a thermal imaging camera (TIC). The dog did not suffer any serious injuries.

The fire was knocked down by 4 p.m., then firefighters overhauled the home for approximately another hour to address remaining hotspots.

The SWFD Fire Marshal and State Fire Marshal’s Office conducted a joint investigation into the fire and confirmed it originated near the home’s back porch. Due to bystander testimony and strong thunderstorms at the time of the incident, a lightning strike could not be ruled out as the most likely cause of the fire.

The home suffered moderate damage in the incident and approximately 25 total SWFD personnel responded to the scene. SWFD would like to thank the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for the assistance during the call.

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Mackenzie McClintockCorrespondent

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