Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arson destroys foreclosure house in Palm Harbor

PALM HARBOR — Arson caused a fire late Wednesday that destroyed a 3,000-square-foot home valued at more than $500,000, authorities say.

No one was inside when the fire occurred just after 10 p.m. The two-story home at 3624 Fisher Road, owned by Charles and Laurie Huber, had been vacant for about three months.

"There's really nothing left," Charles Huber said Thursday. "Everything went."

The house wasn't insured, he said. When told that authorities already were calling it arson, Huber said, "It must have been some kids that went in there or something. That's all I can think of."

Deputies and firefighters from several fire departments responded Wednesday night following a 911 call from a neighbor. Detectives began looking over the scene early Thursday.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office arson detectives joined the investigation as a "standard procedure," spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said.

It didn't take long for detectives to determine the blaze was set, but they did not say what evidence led them to that conclusion.

The investigation is continuing.

Charles Huber, 71, and Laurie Huber, 50, are separated.

No longer able to pay his homeowner's insurance, which cost about $15,000 a year, Charles Huber, a retiree living on Social Security, said he let it expire last fall. He said he also struggled to make his $1,400-plus mortgage payments after the separation, which is why he and his teenage daughter recently moved into a trailer park less than a mile away.

The home, valued at $551,900 by the Pinellas County property appraiser, recently went into foreclosure.

"It was going up for sale," Huber said.

Records show the house, which sits on a little more than an acre, was built in 1957. Huber had lived in it for more than a decade, he said.

Huber said he was told about the fire Thursday morning by his daughter, who learned about it from friends. Furniture, television sets and most of his daughter's clothing were inside. Huber said he removed a refrigerator from the home only a day before the fire.

"I had been taking things out piece by piece," Huber said.

Laurie Huber could not be reached for comment.

Researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Keith Niebuhr can be reached at or (727) 445-4156.

Tip line

How to help

Detectives ask that anyone with information about the fire call (727) 582-6200 or 1-800-873-8477.

Arson destroys foreclosure house in Palm Harbor 04/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 30, 2009 8:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A total of 367 men and women reside on death row at Florida State Prison and Union Correctional Institution, down from 383 at the start of this year. [AP photo (1989)]
  2. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, right, host MSNBC's "Morning Joe" at NBC Studios in New York on April 14, 2010. President Donald Trump on Thursday assailed Brzezinski in unusually personal and vulgar terms, the latest of a string of escalating attacks by the president on the national news media.
  3. Goliath grouper are anything but gentle giants for Florida fishermen


    Goliath, the biblical giant, wasn't known for bothering fishermen. But the gigantic fish named after him — they can weigh up to 800-pounds — is notorious for exactly that.

    Biologists take samples from a goliath grouper that was caught in the Gulf of Mexico. The fish was released back into the gulf. Florida fishermen have petitioned the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to allow them to catch the up to 800-pound fish for a limited time. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  4. Volkov hopes to prove his surprise selection right


    RW Alexander Volkov was not a particularly talked-about player in the lead up to the NHL entry draft.

  5. A stunt turns deadly for a couple seeking YouTube fame (w/video)

    Human Interest

    Over the past several weeks, Monalisa Perez of Halstad, Minnesota, and her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III, began their quest for YouTube fame by creating and posting videos of mostly harmless pranks: Ruiz climbing onto a tenuous tree branch and falling a short distance, or Perez feeding him a doughnut covered in baby powder …

    Over the past several weeks, Monalisa Perez of Halstad, Minnesota, and her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III, began their quest for YouTube fame by creating and posting videos of mostly harmless pranks. On June 26, 2017, authorities say, Perez, 19, shot at a thick book that Ruiz, 22, was holding, apparently believing that the bullet would not make it through the volume. The bullet entered Ruiz's chest and he died at the scene. [Photo from video]