Lithia family loses home to fire days before Thanksgiving

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Days before Thanksgiving, a Hillsborough County family’s home went up in flames, but thankfully, no one was injured.

Early Tuesday morning, Hillsborough County firefighters responded to the home near Nichols Road and Habakka Road in Lithia. Flames and smoke were shooting from the home, and the entire residence was eventually engulfed.

Officials said a woman and her dog was sleeping when the fire broke out, but her father, who lives next door on the property, woke up from the bright light coming from the fire. He broke open a bedroom window, and woke his daughter up, officials said.

The homeowner's two daughters, ages three and six, were not home at the time. Her father, Charlie Meadow, said the home has been in the family for 40 years, and is now a total loss.

"I got two grandbabies who live with her," he explained. "All their stuff is gone. Christmas is coming up. It's kind of hard. This really is heartbreaking. I don't know what else to say."

He said his mother's belongings, who has passed away, is gone from the flames.

The fire was a challenge to fight, officials said, because of the nature of the rural neighborhood, which didn't have a lot of fire hydrants. Firefighters had to set up special equipment, as well as a pool of water in the middle of the road. 

After the sun rose Tuesday morning, smoke was still billowing from the roof, which curved inward due to the heat. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.