Katie Nagel watched in horror as the home across the street in her Land O' Lakes neighborhood went up in flames.
"It was insane,” Nagel said. “The whole roof, the whole inside was on fire. My mom and I were so scared.”
She felt like her heart stopped when she witnessed two firefighters narrowly escaping.
"You saw them running out the door and the fire was right behind them," Nagel said.
The flames, smoke and intense heat made it one of the toughest fires Pasco County Fire Battalion Chief Brian King said his agency has battled in a while. Thankfully, he said, no one was inside the home when they arrived about 10 p.m. Saturday.
"We spent five hours on that fire. It was a lot of work and people were getting tired,” King said.
One of his men hurt his knee inside of what's now the charred shell of the Land O’ Lakes home. Two other firefighters suffered injuries from heat.
"With the area of the attic space, coupled with its older construction – it was built in the 50s – it just made for a very hot fire,” King said.
In the end it took close to 30 firefighters from across the county to contain this blaze.
Investigators say it started in the kitchen before the family left for an outing. While it's a total loss, we're told the home was insured.
Katie is convinced the crew’s persistence saved her neighborhood. The flames shot so high a tree caught fire.
"If that tree goes up and that tree goes up and that tree goes up, then the whole street would be up in flames," she said.
Knowing firefighters were injured keeping her safe gives her a whole new appreciation for those signed up for the job.
"They knew they had the possibility of getting hurt, which makes them that much braver," Nagel said.
While the identities of the injured are not known, they are all veterans. One had 28 years on the job, the others four to seven years.
At this time it's uncertain when the three firefighters will return to work.