According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, the fire started in the family’s garage, sparked by a charging cordless drill that uses a lithium-ion battery.
LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. — A family in Pasco County is starting over after losing everything in a devastating house fire on Tuesday.
According to Pasco County Fire investigators, the fire started in the garage at the home on Garden Heath Court in Land O’ Lakes. They said it was sparked by a cordless drill that uses a lithium-ion battery. The fire caused extensive smoke and heat damage throughout the house, and the garage was a total loss.
Xavier Crecy and his brother Darien Crecy were home when the fire started.
“He came out of his room and asked why the house smelled burnt, and asked me what I was cooking,” Xavier said. “I said I wasn’t cooking anything and jumped up. We went into the kitchen and didn’t see anything there. Then we opened up the garage and a bunch of black smoke rushed into the house.”
Darien Crecy said, “We saw smoke coming from every part of the garage, just watching everything fall apart.”
What the fire didn’t consume was destroyed by smoke and heat damage.
Stacy Gallagher and her husband Quentin Crecy had been renting the home for the last two years.
“All the furniture was lost, clothes were lost,” Gallagher said. “All the sentimental things.”
Pasco County Fire Rescue said the cordless drill, which uses lithium-ion batteries, was sitting on a charger when the fire started. However, the family had a few drills, so they could not determine which make or model caused the fire.
Hughes Tool Supply Director of Operations Randy Pulley said he’s heard of similar situations involving low-grade power tools.
“I would have to guess it was a lesser grade tool and the battery shorted out while it was on the charger, and the battery did not stop charging,” Pulley said. “It kept charging it until it overheated and caught fire.”
Pulley advises people to unplug batteries after they’re fully charged or invest in products that have advanced battery features, like ones that automatically turn off when the battery is fully charged.
“Most of the power tools we’re dealing with [at Hughes Tool Supply] are really high-end type power tools and they’ve done so much development on those batteries that I’ve never seen one burn up or a charger burn up,” he added.
The Crecy family hopes people can learn from their experience: handle tools safely, and never take your house — and those who make it a home — for granted.
Quentin Crecy said, “It was my birthday when it happened so it was kind of the worst birthday and the best because I lost my house, but I didn’t lose my family. Love your family and love your friends.”
The Crecy family told 10 Tampa Bay they didn’t have renter’s insurance. If you’d like to support them as they recover from this fire, click here to be connected to their GoFundMe page.
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