Massive Walton County fire destroys multiple homes

Northwest Florida

WATERSOUND, Fla. (WMBB) — Smoke could be seen for miles in Walton County as a massive fire impacted five homes in the Watersound community on Wednesday.

When they got on the scene, South Walton Fire District officials said they could see smoke coming out of the roof of one of the homes.

Walton County resident, Bill Posey, said once he saw the smoke from the fire, he got on his bike to check it out.

“Walton County rolled about 15 firetrucks in here and I heard that embers were spreading across Highway 98 it seems like it was a really big deal,” Posey said. “Just a lot of property damage.”

Seeing a fire this size prompted Posey to wonder how a fire like this would impact his neighborhood.

“These houses are pretty close together, our houses are pretty close together, at first I thought the worst thing I had to worry about was a hurricane here but this could be a problem,” Posey said.

Posey said he was impressed by the first responder’s ability to fight the blaze.

“They’re going about it very methodically, looks like they’re really gonna save this last house,” Posey said. “They really got a handle on it and I’m just really impressed how much equipment they brought here and how methodically and thoughtful these guys are about fighting the fire.”

Five homes total were impacted by the fire — three of them were deemed a total loss.

SWFD Public Information Officer, Mackenzie McClintock said pictures do not capture the intensity of the fire.

“When you show up on scene and you see the flames coming up from a massive home, you know that instantly your guys are in for a long road ahead,” McClintock said.

McClintock said not only were firefighters dealing with the heat from the flames, but they were also dealing with the hot summer weather.

“Imagine being close to that heat index of 100 plus and having the biggest bonfire you’ve ever seen right next to you,” McClintock.

Officials said one of the homes that caught fire was undergoing repairs — but it is unclear which one. SWFD said they are grateful for the help from all of the assisting agencies including Gulf Power, Panama City Beach Fire Rescue, Walton County Fire Rescue, and Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

SWFD said the fire is out, but they are mopping up hotspots and putting out remaining embers. Officials said they will likely be there throughout the night.

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