A home, 11 pets and Christmas presents lost to a house fire


A family of six has been left homeless after their house on Bowman Terrace caught fire at about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“You’re okay,” Melissa Sabino, mother of three kids, said as she hugs one. “That’s all that matters.”

Charlotte County Fire said it was all because of a bad electric wire in the wall.

“My whole closet went up in flames,” Melissa said.

The fire blew out the windows of this family’s home, which destroyed nearly everything, including their Christmas gifts. But most devastating was the loss of their 11 pets.

One of the dogs that died from the fire on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. Photo via WINK News.
One of the dogs that died from the fire on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. Photo via WINK News.

“Have to pick up those dogs and bring them outside it,” Melissa said.

The family was not home at the time of the fire. But nine dogs, a cat and a chinchilla were trapped inside the smoke-filled home. Six of the puppies were about to be adopted into loving homes this week.

“We lost our dogs and that’s hard for me because I’m such a big animal lover,” Melissa said. “We lost all of them.”

Now this is all the family has left — a barren plot of land with a dilapidated structure that once resembled a home.

“It’s my grandparents,” Melissa said. “There’s sentimental things that may not mean anything to you but they mean something to me and my kids.”

But Melissa said they have been receiving an outpouring of support from friends, neighbors and even total strangers as they struggled to move past this tragedy.

“It’s been hard,” she said, “but they’re making it a little bit easier.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.