Sarasota family survives fiery explosion

Posted at 6:02 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 00:32:31-04

A Sarasota family of four barely made it out of their home alive after they said they woke up to a fiery explosion.

Investigators said the fire started just after 3 a.m. Firefighters arrived to find four people injured, including two children.

Luis Esparza, Maria Gutierrez, and their two children, Jesenia Esparza and Olivia Esparza were transported to Sarasota Memorial and Black Medical Center Trauma Center in Bradenton. Family members said they are now recovering and stable.

The fire burned so hot it melted the lights off the front off a nearby truck.

Family members continued sifting through the fiery wreckage trying to save what they could Tuesday afternoon.

"Some money, some car keys, some boots that are precious to his dad," said Kerry Esparza, daughter-in-law to the family. "He loves his cowboy boots."

The family was asleep in their bedrooms when they heard a sound they'll never forget, she said.

"They were awoken by the explosion," Kerry said. "Once they heard the boom, they woke up, went to the door, saw the fire and that's when they started trying to get everybody out of the house."

Kerry said she still doesn't know how the four made it out, as the home was filling with thick, black smoke.

"Some jumped out the front, some jumped out the window," she said.

It took 35 firefighters to put out the flames, said Sarasota County Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Regnier.

"The fire marshal said if it had been four more minutes, they wouldn't have woken up," Kerry said.

They are also grateful the family Chihuahua made it out alive. The dog was staying with an animal rescue group and relatives picked it up later today.

"The house is destroyed but as long as everyone is alive, that's all that matters," Kerry said.

The State Fire Marshal's Office has taken over this investigation and they are still trying to figure out exactly what may have caused this fire.