Homeowner says fire came right up to his fence

Homeowner says fire came right up to his fence

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In northwest Okeechobee, one home was destroyed, one damaged, and several sheds and barns were also burned down in a brush fire that caused many to evacuate.

Within minutes of seeing the fire from his backyard, Ivan Holliday said the flames and smoke started moving toward his house quickly.

"The smoke was the craziest thing. We couldn't see at times, I couldn't see three meters in front of me, it was gray and brown and black everywhere," said Holliday.

The first worry for him and his wife - their animals.

"We had to move a donkey and four horses and we would have had to move a zebra and a fox," said Holliday who has an exotic collection of animals, many of them rescues.

But as firefighters worked to contain a 100-plus acre fire near 317th Street, they dug a fire line around Holliday's home to protect it.

"They said the fire wouldn't hit the house and it never did," added Holliday.

Okeechobee County firefighters had help from several counties to contain the fire. In total 10 to 12 homes were in danger. Holliday feels grateful. He said he just got married and moved to Okeechobee from New Zealand three months ago, and has already been through two wildfires and a tornado near his home.

"I'm hoping there's not a flood next," laughed Holliday.

The Hollidays said if it wasn't for the quick response from firefighters, their home and their animals may not have survived the wildfire.

"It was miraculous, really I mean, everything stopped at the fence line," added Holliday.

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