Resident worried by two fires within two years in turtle preserve near her home in The Villages

A Villager told Community Development District 2 supervisors on Friday that she is worried about two fires within two years at a turtle preserve near her home.

Cindy Walton had been returning from lunch on Jan. 6 and as she neared her home in the San Leandro Villas she saw the fire at the Harold S. Schwartz Wildlife Preserve. The fast-moving blaze scorched 10 acres of the preserve.

“The fire came all the way to our villas. It rushed through the field so fast. It melted our fence,” Walton said.

Initial reports indicated the blaze had been ignited by sparks from a mower. She said a similar situation sparked a blaze about a year and a half ago at the same preserve.

The Jan. 6 fire scorched about 10 acres of a preserve.

She complained about the way contractors have been performing maintenance at the preserve.

“Something has to be done,” Walton said.

Homeowners who sustained damage from the fire are being encouraged to file claims with their insurance companies, said Sam Wartinbee of District Property Management.

If the contractor is found to be at fault for igniting the fire, the Villagers’ insurance companies could recover damages from the contractor, Wartinbee said.