Homeowners are hopeful 136-year-old house can be salvaged after fire

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – Every corner of the Pleasant Street Historic District in Downtown Gainesville is littered with charm and homes more than a century old. Dirk Drake has lived in the neighborhood for the last 16 years.

“I have neighbors who are 87 years old who have lived here since the 1940′s and 50′s that have given it a real sense of history and I teach history so I love living here,” said Drake.

He said it’s usually quiet, but adds it was anything but quiet last Wednesday night when he noticed the balcony of house named Rosewood engulfed in flames.

“If I hadn’t noticed quicker I really worry about the girl who was asleep upstairs,” said Drake.

After calling 911, he ran over to help get the two college students living in the house out who were unaware of the blaze at the time. Gainesville Fire rescue arrived within five minutes to put out the fire.

“It was very emotional I got thanked profusely for saving their lives and just getting GFR quickly enough I think the whole house would’ve gone up in flames,” Drake added.

RELATED STORY: Neighbors react to condition of historic ‘Rosewood’ home after devastating fire

While Drake helped save the lives of the residents, Sandy Calkins helped bring this house back to life nearly 40 years ago when she and her husband restored it. They completed the renovation with a new patio and porch along with custom stain glass pieces scattered in and outside of the home.

Drake and Calkins are hopeful it can be given a third life.

“It’s one of those houses that will hopefully be saved so that people can see it from generations on,” said Calkins.

They say majority of the damage is on the second floor of the home. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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