Uninsured homeowner survives house fire, shares ordeal
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- An uninsured South Florida homeowner who survived a house fire along with his father shared his ordeal Monday.
"At, like, four o'clock, my left pinky toe was burning, and that's how I woke up," said Kurt Pionckowsky, whose two-story home at 2701 SE 7 Drive in Pompano Beach was declared a total loss. "When I woke up, I looked around me. Everything, the whole outside of the house, was on fire," he continued.
Neighbors snapped away and recorded cell phone video as flames shot out of the roof of Pionckowsky's residence. "You could see the flames, pretty much [as far as] Fort Lauderdale," a male witness said.
Afraid for her home, next-door neighbor Debra Deforrest brought out her water hose. "I was hosing the back of my house to keep the flames from coming over to my house," she said.
Fire crews arrived on the scene and brought more water to attack the fire. "It just seemed to grow pretty quickly, from the back to the front of the house," said fellow neighbor Charmaine Composky, "so I was scared, and I looked out back by the pool, and the embers were just falling everywhere," she added.
Pionckowsky, who was trapped in his second-floor bedroom, got on his hands and knees. "I crawled to get my dad out of bed. He was sleeping, I dragged him out of bed, and he fell on the floor. I picked him up, and I begged him to get out of the room," he narrated.
The two men could only wait for firefighters to use the ladder as they waited on their second-story balcony. "[The firefighters] brought a ladder, and they got them out," said Composky.
Pionckowsky burned his hand when he touched the handle on his balcony's sliding glass doors. He and his father were also treated for smoke inhalation.
The homeowner revealed his Pompano Beach residence was his childhood home, and it is not insured. He said he has no idea what he's going to do next, especially considering his father, 69, has Alzheimer's. "They made [my father] go to the hospital because he doesn't want to go, and neither do I," Pionckowsky said, choking back tears.
Pionckowsky was able to locate all three of his cats. One of them had gone missing earlier in the day. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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