PHOTO COURTESY JOHN WILTON
UP IN FLAMES — Flames light up the night along Lake Beresford at a property owned by DeLand car dealership manager Deric Kaiser. The photo was taken by a neighbor in the early hours of the morning Dec. 29.

Firefighters from the Deltona Fire Department and Volusia County Fire Rescue responded to two house fires on Dec. 25 and 29.

First, in Deltona, deputies from the Sheriff’s Office and first responders from the Deltona Fire Department rushed to a call around 9 p.m. on Christmas Day at 1609 Gregory Drive in Deltona.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, when the house fire was extinguished, the single occupant, 81-year-old Carol Billings, was declared dead.

The official cause of the fire had not yet been determined as of Dec. 29, and an investigation is underway by the state fire marshal. The Deltona Fire Department said it could not comment further on the fire, because it is under investigation.

Farther north, in unincorporated Volusia County along Lake Beresford, Volusia County Fire Rescue responded to a call at 2625 Flowing Well Road that came in around midnight Dec. 29.

It was quite a spectacular site from across the lake. They battled that fire for hours,” said Leanne Banker Galliher, who alerted The Beacon about the fire early Thursday after observing it from her home.

“The fire involved a two-story detached garage on a residential property,” Volusia County Director of Community Information Kevin Captain said. “The detached garage is a total loss.”

The adjacent home was not damaged, Captain said.

The fire occurred on property that belongs to Deric Kaiser, the general manager of the Kaiser Buick GMC car dealership in DeLand.

No one was injured in the fire, and family dog Zeus was also safe, Kaiser told The Beacon.

Kaiser believes the fire started inside a motor home that stays parked in the garage, but that motor home had two electric bikes nearby, so the cause of the fire isn’t clear yet. The fire damaged a number of vehicles Kaiser was storing in the detached garage.

“A 40-foot diesel pusher motor home, a 22-foot boat, a trailer, a 2008 GMC truck, two Harleys damaged, a four-wheeler damaged, a golf cart toast, and then the contents of the garage,” Kaiser said.

But at the end of the day, he said, it’s all just stuff.

“It can all be replaced, and it’s going to have five different insurance companies fighting over it,” he said.

The state fire marshal is conducting a routine investigation of the blaze.

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