EAST MANATEE — No folks, it wasn’t the firefighter training show. This was a real fire.
A motor home belonging to Catia and John Caudill caught fire just before 10 a.m. this morning at Hunsader Farms off of County Road 675. The Caudills operate the Walker Bros. Circus and were performing at the 19th annual Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival. Their 39-foot Fleetwood Excursion was parked behind the circus tent on the northwest end of the festival grounds.
No one was inside the motor home, except for the Caudill’s two dachshunds. The Caudill’s were able to get the two dogs out before the fire consumed the motor home.
Mike Hunsader was near the motor home when he noticed the smoke and broke a window trying to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived.
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“I smelled it and I saw it,” he said shortly after firefighters arrived. “I feel so bad for John Walker.”
The Myakka City Fire Rescue was first to arrive on the scene at 10:10 a.m., but the motorhome was already engulfed in flames, according to Deputy Chief Lee Whitehurst of East Manatee Fire Rescue. They were able extinguish the fire within 10 minutes. The motor home’s value was estimated at $200,000.