By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A Panhandle home that has sheltered orphaned and abandoned children for almost 20 years was destroyed by fire.

The Florida Fire Marshal's Office is investigating how the Taunton Family Children's Home blaze started before 4 a.m. Wednesday. The family was out of town, and their three house guests were able to safely evacuate.

Damage was confined to the main home on the Taunton's 80-acre spread, which includes separate group homes for girls and boys and
other buildings.

The couple, David and Abigail Taunton, own a Panhandle building supply company bearing their last name.

Their charity efforts have been recognized by Oprah Winfrey,
whose Angel Network Support Foundation awarded the home a $50,000 grant in 2000.

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