ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — Two families are recovering after a fire ripped through a community for corrections officers. The small group of homes is directly across from the Zephyrhills Correctional Institution where many of the families work.
Cassandra Ross and her husband Eric are sifting through what’s left of their mobile home, one of two destroyed last Thursday by that fast moving fire.
“By the time I got here our house was mostly gone,” said Cassandra.
She and Eric worked at the Zephyrhills Correctional Institution and met in the mental ward. Together they have a combined 30 years working for the Department of Corrections. Now they have little left.
“Nothing is salvageable. We’ve been looking for days for my wedding ring… and… I’m sorry. I don’t think it’s going to happen,” said Ross.
Cassandra’s 19-year-old disabled daughter Faith was home sleeping when the fire broke out. Her brother burned his feet as he struggled to get his sister out alive.
“It was terrifying,” said Faith trembling while looking at the remains of her home.
The fire quickly spread, eventually destroying the home of another corrections officer next door.
“I feel so responsible,” said Ross. “My neighbors have tried to assure me it’s not our fault but I still wake up and cry to think I caused my neighbors to lose their home.”
Fellow employees have been supporting the two families with their immediate needs. The next step will be finding a permanent place to live.
And even if Cassandra never finds her wedding ring, she says she’s grateful to have her entire family still by her side.
“I will get through this because I have my husband who’s an angel and I have my daughter who needs me to get through this.”
If you’d like to help the Ross Family a GoFundMe page has been set up by relatives. Click here to donate.
There is also a GoFundMe page for the second family who lost their home here.
© 2018 WTSP-TV