Homeowners are still picking up the pieces after a large brush fire damaged property in the Melbourne area.

  • Melbourne homeowners recover after weekend brush fire
  • Fire began w/ lightning strike near Jones Rd. and I-95
  • Fire destroyed homeowner possessions, homes 

The fire began with a lightning strike near Jones Road and I-95 Saturday afternoon, forcing officials to close the interstate down.

And for one man, he lost more than a million dollars’ worth of property and collectibles.

"I just sat out here and watched it burn," Conrad Throne told Spectrum News from his Lakeside Avenue home. "It was an inferno."

That's all Throne could do as firefighters from Melbourne and Brevard County worked to stop a fast-moving brush fire burning his neighbor's property next door.

The flames there destroyed a large shed and tools inside. A truck nearby was burnt beyond recognition, and two other trucks on the property were also gutted.

Then the fire took aim on Throne's place.

"The wind was coming like this (pointing), and it wasn't even over my house yet," he said. "But then all of sudden it shifted."

Embers ignited his 5,000 square foot, two-story garage. Inside, his precious 45 year collection of 12 cars, nine motorcycles and NASCAR memorabilia are all now in danger.

Recording much of what was going on, Nicholas Thompson, came to help.

"That's when the neighbor started pulling out the Model T, the race car, all his expensive stuff," Thompson said.

Thompson and another neighbor corralled Throne's horses who were running loose. He also went inside the house and grabbed a cat hiding under a bed.

"Fire was blazing by the door. I had fire hoses almost hitting me as I was trying to leave the house, so I ran out the back door," he said.

The sheriff's office helicopter continued water drops using the large pond behind the homes.