Community comes together to help couple who lost home, pets in fire

Northwest Florida

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — An Escambia County couple is working to pick up the pieces after their home was destroyed in a fire early Monday morning. 

Zach Keaton, 35, and Elizabeth Edmondson, 27, woke up at about 2 a.m. Monday to smoke and flames consuming their home on Bronson Road off Lillian Highway. They had no idea they’d lose everything. 

“The smoke woke me up, but at that point, the whole entire carport and a quarter of the house was already on fire,” Keaton said. “We didn’t even have time to think or do anything to prepare.” 

Despite the efforts from multiple fire departments, the home is considered a total loss. The couple lost four cars, their belongings and more devastating — Chips and Noodle, two of their three cats. 

Their third cat, Rudie, survived. 

“I tried to go back inside the house to get them or to find them, but there was just so much smoke and heat,” Keaton said. “I couldn’t do anything at that point. Losing everything we own is nothing in comparison to losing those two cats.” 

Within hours after the fire, the couple’s family and community came together to help. 

Edmondson’s brother, Will, started a GoFundMe fundraising page with an initial goal of $20,000. Keaton said within just about five to six hours, that goal was reached. The GoFundMe has since reached more than $50,000 in donations in just two days. 

Edmondson works at Volume ONE Salon in downtown Pensacola, and Keaton owns his own furniture restoring business. 

Keaton said he’s grateful many of those who know the couple from their work in the community have come to their aid during a tough time. 

“Salons, hairdressers as a whole, have a huge part in other people’s lives, so when it comes time for them to reciprocate, I think they have no problem doing that,” said Hurst Butts, owner at Volume ONE Salon, who helped the couple get a rental car. 

The couple is now working on getting new permanent transportation and housing. Keaton said he’s overwhelmed by the community’s support. 

“I never would have expected people to donate money,” he said. “There’s no words that I can put in to show how grateful we are. The only thing I can say is thank you.” 

Keaton believes the fire was caused by an electrical issue.

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