SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)–It’s been one week since a wildfire claimed the homes of more than 30 families in Santa Rosa Beach. Those living near Mussett Bayou Road are stilled surrounded by firefighters as they work hard to contain the fire set by a resident.
“I dont believe misdemeanor charges are enough but the law is what the law is, they can only charge them what they’re allowed to,” said Jordan Davis, a resident.
Davis lives on Pinehurst Drive, just a few steps away from Allen Smith’s home where the fire first broke out.
“In a matter of 15 minutes, the flames were as tall as the pine trees in our backyard and had us surrounded,” said Davis.
Fortunately, Davis did not lose her home. She says her heart goes out to everyone who’s been affected. She, like others, believes no price can pay for the damage that was done.
“There’s 34 families who can’t go home and we know some of them, my children went to school with some of them and they’ve lost everything,” said Davis.
Over on Thompson Road, residents have similar reactions.
“From one persons actions, everybody lost years and years. I mean for me I’m 22 years old, anything I’ve gotten from the time I was born to now is gone,” said Nick Shaw, a resident of Thompson Road.
Shaw moved onto Thompson Road just days before the fire. Now his new home has become a total loss. He too says no punishment will ever justify what he and his neighbors have had to experience.
“He has to live with knowing that this happened for the rest of his life and that would be tough for any person you know,” said Shaw.
Both Shaw and Davis say they’re just thankful that structures were the only things that were lost.
“Let him be charged with misdemeanors and thankfully no one got hurt, I would rather that than the opposite,” said Shaw.
Shaw says if this experience has taught him anything, it’s one thing.
“Appreciate what you have, I mean, because in literally 60 seconds, your entire life changes,” said Shaw.
Several fundraisers have been set up for the victims of the Mussett Bayou fire.
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