Sumter County-- Two families on Lake Blackshear were barely able to escape a fire just before daybreak Monday morning.
A strong north wind fed the flames, the fire licking tree tops. In a matter of hours, two homes on Flint Side Drive were destroyed and two other homes damaged.
Chris Greene, whose parent's home was destroyed, says "I hate it for my folks. It is just a tough thing. They lost everything but what they were wearing when they left."
Hot spots are all that's left from a fire they barely escaped. Firefighters think the fire began somewhere on the Greene's property.
A strong north wind fed the fire. Greene says, "The wind gusting out of the northeast like it was this morning was actually causing those flames to get up real high and actually causing those flames to reach up and touch the other home next door until it finally got ignited."
This is the home. It's where the Rodgers family planned to spend their golden years, too. Everything is gone. Thomas Rodgers says, "It is things you will never recover. Your whole life's pictures of your children and your grandchildren. So many things that money can't buy. It is irreplaceable."
Strangely, only one thing on both properties was untouched by the fire. Greene says, "The firefighters and other people that were coming out and observing, you could see that the American Flag that they fly in their backyard, was uh, the only thing you could see through the flames."
This flag on the Greene's property was not damaged at all--even though the flames burnt nearby trees even taller than the flag pole, "It is just amazing that even with tragedy you can see our country, the symbol of our country still standing."
These families say they are like that flag and both plan to rebuild on their damaged home sites.
Investigators are not sure what caused the fire, but it is possible it started inside a trailer on the Greene's property, next to their home.
Nothing remains of the Greene's home , as well as a trailer, two carports, an automobile, a recreational trailer, and a greenhouse.
The Rodgers' home was destroyed and a shed on their property. Two other nearby homes sustained minor smoke and fire damage. A man was injured fighting the fire on his property but is expected to be okay.