TAMPA, Fla. — Just five months into their marriage, Gina and Juan Serrano have faced a lot of big life moments. First a pregnancy and now a house fire that destroyed all of their possessions.
On Sunday afternoon, Juan said he was working at The Independent in Seminole Heights when he noticed smoke coming from his neighborhood. He went home and saw firefighters rushing to put out a fire at the duplex connected to his.
“We had some smoke damage, that was it,” Juan Serrano said. “We were torn up about our neighbors cause they lost a lot of things, really sad about that and very fortunate to think we got away unscathed."
The fire department put out the fire and told them it might be a couple of days before the power would be turned on and they could return home. They collected some belongings and went to stay with relatives. Hours later the fire reignited. At 2:35 a.m., cell phone video shows the duplex engulfed in flames. Tampa fire couldn’t save their house a second time.
“I’ve been trying to be positive,” Gina Serrano said. “I’m just trying to stay strong cause I don’t want to stress the baby out.”
The couple tells us they are grateful for Juan’s work-family raising money to help them get back on their feet and that their two cats are OK. The Serranos tell us they did not have renters insurance.
“I bawled, cried. But you know, once we got there we have to be strong for each other because we are OK,” Gina Serrano said. “And, that’s the most important thing everything else can be replaced.”
Independent Bar and Cafe is holding a fundraiser for the couple Sunday, April 14 from noon to 11 p.m.
Juan’s worked as a bartender there for the past six years.
"Just the support from our community our family and friends... overwhelming it’s like such a blessing,” Gina Serrano said.