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"Controlled burn" in Florida accidentally torches dozens of homes across 800 acres

Homes destroyed in Florida fire
"Controlled burn" in Florida accidentally torches dozens of homes 02:02

EASTPOINT, Fla. -- It was supposed to be a "controlled burn," a fire deliberately set to prevent future wildfires. But it ended up burning much more than planned, including dozens of homes in the Florida Panhandle town of Eastpoint.

Glenn Woodall says he only had minutes to save his pets and himself when the Limerock Fire approached his property.

"The fire was in my backyard, so I found the puppy that was in the bedroom in there, I got it out and I didn't have no time to get nothing," he said.

Woodall is one of 36 homeowners in the Franklin County community who lost everything.

"It all got burned up," Woodall said.

Florida's agriculture commissioner blames a local company that was hired by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to conduct a controlled burn. The fire was supposed to burn 480 acres by ended up torching more than 800 acres.

The company started the control burn on June 18. Six days later, the fire engulfed the Eastpoint neighborhood, and it took two days for firefighters to control the flames.

In a statement, the FWC said they "have suspended our prescribed fire program statewide and the inspector general has begun an investigation."

But homeowner Pennie Bryant wants the state to pay for everything she lost.

"We hear they don't replace the sheds and stuff like that," she said. "That ain't right. They should have to replace everything."

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