St. Andrews Couple Loses Everything in Fire

A St. Andrews couple is trying to regroup after fire destroyed their home.
The fire happened early Tuesday morning.
Authorities believe lightning struck a tree that was growing into the Alabama Ave. home.
The flames spread quickly, destroying the building.
“3:30 this morning I woke up and the house was filled with smoke,” said Melody Neal. “I panicked, but I said, 'no time to panic.' I've got to get everyone out now."
She woke-up her husband, Frank, and another couple who'd been staying with them.
They all got out safely, but firefighters say the house itself did not stand much of a chance.
"As they arrived there was the first band of storms coming through,” said Lt. Jimmy Talley, with the Panama City Fire Department. “The wind was blowing really hard and it was raining really heavy, which we believe contributed to the fast spread of the fire."
He said it was a very dangerous situation.
"The way it burned we had parts of the second story that were barely hanging onto the roof line,” Talley said. “It had no bottom to it.”
All the Neal's could do was stand and watch everything they owned go up in smoke.
"We left with just the clothes on our backs. We have nothing. We lost everything."
Later Tuesday morning a city demolition crew took down what was left of the home.
The red cross has put-up both couples in a hotel for the next few nights.

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