BRADENTON -- An early-morning fire Tuesday destroyed the home of a Bradenton father, according to the Bradenton Fire Department.
Police, fire and rescue officials responded to the fire in the 1300 block of 12th Avenue West, in Village of the Arts, at 3:37 a.m. Tuesday, according to a police report.
When first responders arrived, the home was engulfed in flames. Initial reports were that a father and his two children might be in the home, but the man was at work and the children were at their mother's home at the time of the fire, according to Fire Marshal Kenneth Langston.
The family's three pets -- a dog, turtle and iguana -- were in the home at the time of the fire and all died.
The blaze woke many of the surrounding neighbors, who came out to discover ash raining down on them. Marty Mason, who lives two houses down, woke up to someone pounding on the door of the house between them.
"There was stuff burning in the tree, which is what worried me," Mason said. "It was a like a huge bonfire."
Fire crews were able to distinguish the blaze within eight minutes, according to Langston.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and investigators are working to eliminate potential sources of the blaze, Langston said.
"There was very little that was salvageable," Langston said. The family will be staying with the children's mother until the father finds a new home, Langston said.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.