HD 36 candidate Rich Santos helps move dogs away from fire

Rich Santos
'The flames were so hot it was melting the back siding of the house.'

Well that’s maybe one vote secured, at least.

House District 36 Republican candidate Rich Santos spent part of his Tuesday morning helping get three dogs get away from a fire in Sanford.

Santos is an Orange County master deputy, soon to retire. But on this day he was a passerby who noticed smoke as he drove by a house, then noticed frantic people running about the front yard, and finally saw flames leaping up from behind the house.

So he pulled over to see if anyone needed help.

It turned out a backyard shed was on fire, and the fire had spread to a screen enclosure and another storage structure. Dogs were penned in next to it. People had already called 911.

“I saw this guy running down the street carrying a couple of dog leashes. So we went over to the backyard. The flames were so hot it was melting the back siding of the house,” Santos recalled Wednesday.

“This lady’s freaking out. She can’t find one of her dogs. It was really hot. So we went over the fence. One of the guys handed us the dogs, and we got the dogs out.”

Seminole County Fire Department, Sanford Fire Department and Lake Mary Fire Department all responded to the 10:49 a.m. call on the shed fire, which was in unincorporated Seminole between Sanford and Lake Mary.

“That’s when the FD came,” he said. “They did a great job. They saved the place.”

The fire was quickly extinguished and there were no injuries.

Santos said he left when the fire trucks began arriving. He came back later, met with the woman who lived there and posed with the dogs.

“I was just glad I was able to help,” he said. “If it was my house, I would want someone to come help me out.”

Santos, of Sanford, is in a Republican Primary Election battle with Rachel Plakon of Lake Mary and Angel Perry of Sanford. The seat is being vacated by Plakon’s husband, Republican Rep. Scott Plakon, who is term-limited.

The new House District 36 covers nearly all of northern Seminole County, including Heathrow, Lake Mary, Sanford, Geneva, Longwood and part of Winter Springs.

Based on the last couple of General Elections, the HD 36 race should be pretty purple, with maybe a slight Democratic lean. However, no Democrats have filed to run in the district.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn