‘I could use whatever help. I am broke’: Raging Sarasota County house fire leaves homeowner devastated

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Sarasota County homeowner is devastated after he said he lost all of his belongings in a raging fire.

“I could use whatever help. I am broke. I mean I am broke, I don’t have any money in a bank or nothing,” said the homeowner, James Ward, who describes himself as a collector. “I lost my coin collection, my stamp collection, I lost my sword collection, antique guns.”

The fire broke out just before noon at Ward’s home home on Ponder Avenue in the Fruitville area.

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Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the home engulfed in flames.

A neighbor said the fire was intense, and they believed all the items around the house provided extra fuel for the flames. There were explosions, and it all happened very quickly, the neighbor said.

Firefighters said the flames did not spread to neighboring homes. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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