ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. – At 4:45 p.m. Sunday, Katrina Derousse, Dustin Farrell, and their three children left their home on Begonia Ave. in Zephyrhills to go to a wedding.
“We were saying hi to everyone, got our first drinks, just about to sit down for dinner,” said Derousse.
“I saw lightning off in the distance,” said Farrell. “A couple of shots.”
Moments later, Derousse’s phone rang.
“[Katrina] came running back, saying that our house was on fire, we need to get to the house,” said Farrell.
Pasco County Fire Rescue confirms their rental house was struck by lightning. Crews were able to put the fire out in 20 minutes, but the inside was almost a total loss. Their dog, Static, didn’t make it.
Farrell is wearing his collar.
“It smells like a stinky dog, but I love it right now,” he said.
As for their belongings, everything is replaceable. Their neighbors are stepping up to help with necessities. Along with fundraising, they’ve donated clothes, toiletries and school supplies.
At least this is a lesson, albeit a hard one, for their kids.
“I want them to understand the importance of community,” said Farrell. “The importance of helping people out who are in need of help.”
The Red Cross is providing the family with a room at a nearby motel. Dustin and Katrina pledge to get back to work as soon as possible. They did not have renters insurance.
“You don’t expect it to happen to you,” said Derousse. “We work hard for what we got here. We have been here our whole life. It’s not fair.”
An online fundraiser has been set up at https://www.facebook.com/donate/640161353592588/.