Second family in Bay County loses home to a fire in less than a week

Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 11:12 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A second family in Bay County lost their home to a fire in less than a week.

“It’s still hard,” said Sarah Jarzynka, a Panama City resident who lost her home. “The day is going to replay for Chuck and me for a while.”

The family of five lost the home they rented in a fire Tuesday afternoon.

Jarzynka said she made her kids bagels for breakfast in the toaster oven that morning.

“Something on top of the toaster oven had caught fire and spread into the kitchen that made a smoldering fire that lasted until we got home around 2:45,” Jarzynka said.

She and her boyfriend, Charles Cook, said everything seemed normal until they unlocked the door.

“Whenever Chuck opened the door, it was just a bellow of smoke inside,” Jarzynka said.

The home isn’t the only thing that left a hole in their hearts. The fire also took the lives of their beloved dog and two cats.

“They were long gone before we got home,” Jarzynka said. “We carried Gibby out, or I should say Chuck carried Gibby out. Firefighters came and were able to find the cats inside.”

Her three children are also coming to terms with it.

“They took it really hard,” Jarzynka said. “It’s a hard adjustment to try to have a new life and a new normal without your furry friends.”

The community is rallying behind them, though. Their son and daughter play football and cheer for the Lynn Haven Raiders. The sports league is coming together to support them after they heard the news.

“A lot of Raiders have stepped up,” said Heather Vickers, the Cheer Director of the Lynn Haven Raiders. “I mean, we just finished our season, so having kids that play both football and cheer with us. A lot of families have reached out on both sides.”

Jarzynka and Cook said they are grateful for the outpour of support.

“I don’t really want to get emotional, but it means a lot,” Jarzynka said. “It’s something we don’t have to worry about whenever there’s so much to worry about.”

She and her boyfriend said there is a silver lining through it all.

“Something good will come out of this even though we can’t necessarily see it,” Jarzynka said. “It’s something to look forward to.”

Vickers said you can drop off donations for the family this coming Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 5 - 9 p.m. at Lynn Haven Elementary in the parent pick-up line.

You can also visit the family’s gofundme page is you’re interested in donating.