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Fire claims home
30 Jessica Ct 003
Juanita Martinez and her children's home on Jessica Court in Allenhurst was destroyed by fire early Wednesday. - photo by Lewis Levine / Coastal Courier
All that remains standing of Juanita Martinez' home on Jessica Court in Allenhurst are the brick walls after an early Wednesday blaze.
Inside are the charred remains of a lifetime of memories.
Juanita and her two children, Wilfredo Roldan, 21, and Janice Roldan, 20, sifted through the ashes later that afternoon in search of items that may have escaped damage.
To their amazement, Janice Roldan found a guitar with the case charred on the outside and the instrument inside without a scratch, just a little water moisture beading on it. There were also pottery items made by Juanita's brother. Her brand new laptop and other belongings did not survive the unrelenting heat.
In fact the Armstrong Atlantic student had just the clothes on her back. The sneakers she wore were borrowed from a friend.
Her mother, who is a soldier assigned to Fort Stewart, reportedly in Savannah when the fire started.
Here daughter was asleep in her bedroom and recalls hearing her brother scream, "fire." She ran from the room and saw smoke bellowing in the living room. She ran out the front door and waited for her brother who was retrieving his cell phone and laptop.
"I yelled to him to get out."
As they were standing in the driveway, Janice saw smoke and small flames coming from the corner of the garage door.
"I took the garden hose and tried to spray it, when all of a sudden the garage door blew off."
As the couple ran, Janice said she could feel the fire on her back.
"Our hair got burned as we ran," she said.
They watched as the car burned and the rest of the house started to go up as they waited for the Walthourville Fire Department to arrive. In addition to losing her belongings she lost a pet rat and lizard. Two dogs survived
When deputies and firefighters arrived, the home was engulfed in flames, which took several hours to bring under control.
Liberty County Fire Investigator James Ashdown will lead the investigation as to what caused the fire. According to Ashdown, the garage had musical instruments in it.
As Janice stood outside the remains of the home she was grateful to be alive. "The sky is much bluer and the air feels so good," she said with a smile.
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