Damage estimated at $500K in south Fort Myers house fire

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SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla. Juan Anzualdo searched through the rubble Monday after a fire ravaged his house to find his wife’s wedding ring.

He found it, but estimates place the amount of the damage sustained in the blaze at $500,000, the South Trail Fire & Rescue District said. Anzualdo and two firefighters were injured in the Sunday afternoon fire on the 11400 block of Ranchette Road.

Anzualdo was hospitalized but has since been released. Only a small portion of the house remains intact. The rest is just charred framing.

The blaze, which investigators ruled accidental, began in the attic and was electrical in nature, the district said. The district, the state fire marshal’s office and the Lee County Arson Task Force jointly conducted the investigation.

Anzualdo was trying to rescue the family’s pets when he was hurt, his family said. He saved a kitten, but a puppy died in the fire.

“I was determined to go back and right at the entrance of my door I saw my little cat so I grabbed her, but I just couldn’t go back inside,” he said. “The smoke was so bad and I kind of knew I had lost him.”

Life Church on Plantation Road and the American Red Cross are assisting.

“My pastor opened his home to me and I’m staying with him right now,” Anzualdo said.

The church is asking those who want to help to call 239-939-5433.

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