LONGBOAT KEY - A Suncoast family is heartbroken after they lost everything Tuesday afternoon when a fire ripped through their Longboat Key home.
It happened on Gulfside Road. The house is a total loss. Fortunately no one was inside -- with the exception of a two year old Rottweiler. The family pet unfortunately passed away, leaving Jose and Paula Chichande and their young daughter grief-stricken.
Jose was just returning from a day at the beach with his 4-year-old daughter around 3pm Tuesday. “We came back and the house was on fire. First thing I wanted to do was get in there and get my dog out.”
The Rottweiler named Mia unfortunately died inside. “That's the only loss I really care about.”
The blaze damaged anything and everything, including the family's perspective on the future. “We just came from a different country and have been working so hard to support our daughter and raise her here. Now we don't have anything. Everything has been destroyed, all of our efforts and savings,” says Paula.
Thankfully for Jose, Paula and their daughter, neighbors are putting forth the effort, giving them a temporary roof over their heads and some clean clothes. “We are happy we have good friends and good family,” says Jose.
A grateful feeling after a day of tragedy. One that comes just a few weeks after another one of their dogs was hit and killed by a car.
Investigators are still not sure how the fire started. The state fire marshal's office is investigating. Jose and Paula say they don't have a clue either.