'It almost sounded like fireworks': Palm Coast family displaced after kitchen fire

The fire was contained to the kitchen area, but left heavy smoke damage throughout, PCFD Lt. Patrick Juliano wrote in an email.

The Lopez family's kitchen after the fire. Courtesy of the PCFD
The Lopez family's kitchen after the fire. Courtesy of the PCFD
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Toni Lopez said her family had left their home in the L Section for less than an hour before coming home to find their kitchen on fire. 

The fire occurred at 10:37 p.m. on Feb. 24 and in the days since then Lopez and her family have been trying to pick up the pieces. Lopez said she had finished cooking the family's dinner before leaving with their two teenaged kids — Sophia, 16, and Clavin, 15 — to pick up her husband from her father-in-law's home. 

"I don't always take [the kids] with me," Lopez said. "But I took them with me. Thank God I did."

Her daughter called 911 as her husband Orlando Lopez ran inside with a small fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Unfortunately, the extinguisher ran out before all the flames were contained.

Orlando and Toni Lopez said they could hear glass breaking from outside as the family waited for PCFD.

"It almost sounded like fireworks from outside," she said. "You could just hear them, one by one just ... exploding and just making a crazy noise."

The Palm Coast Fire Department arrived quickly to put out the flames. PCFD Engines 21, 22, 23, Tower and Battalion 24 and Fire Police all showed up to the scene, as well as Flagler County Fire Rescues 21 and 24, according to a PCFD Facebook post.

While the fire was contained to the kitchen, Lopez said there is heavy smoke damage throughout the home. Much of their belongings will need to be replaced.

Lopez said anyone who wants to reach out can email her [email protected]. A friend of the family started up a GoFundMe on the the family's behalf, which has so far raised almost $3,000.

It was after midnight when all the firefighters left. The family waited hours in their car for Red Cross to arrive, only to speak to them the next morning. They were given a card with $640 and some care packages with basic necessities.

Some of things can't be replaced.

"I lost pictures of my mother," Orlando Lopez said. "My mom passed away two years ago."

The Lopez family rents their home and do not have renters insurance. For now, Toni Lopez said, the family is staying with family and friends until they can find a new place to live.

Lopez said she doesn't even know where to start. Most importantly, she said, her family is homeless until they can find a new place. And it's very expensive to move right now, she said, and so much needs to replaced.

"It's just— it's a lot," she said. "I'm super overwhelmed."

They're both relieved that no one was injured Orlando Lopez said he's grateful for people's generosity with donating to the GoFundMe.

"The response from the people was completely unexpected," he said. "To see how other people can come together for someone in need— it's beautiful."


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