TAMPA — It took firefighters about an hour Saturday night to bring a blaze atop the Yuengling brewery under control, leaving a corner of the building charred black.
The fire — in the 1950s-era brewery next to Busch Gardens — was still under investigation late Saturday night, according to Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Henry Williams. Two Yuengling employees were in the plant when the fire broke out, but they were not injured. Yuengling officials could not be reached.
The damage, from the exterior, appeared to be limited to the top of the plant's southwest corner.
Just before 8 p.m., an employee called 911 to report the fire at the brewery, 11111 N 30th St., Williams said. Firefighters arrived and found a section of the plant building's roof and side in flames.
Firefighters could not get to the flames from inside the building, so two ladder trucks sprayed it from the outside. A Tampa police helicopter overhead provided guidance to firefighters on the ground. About 60 Tampa fire personnel responded to the blaze, which was mostly under control by just after 9 p.m.
The brewery is set back from N 30th Street, so despite many Tampa fire and police vehicles on scene, traffic did not have to be diverted. Cars slowed as drivers gawked at the sight of ladder trucks dousing the orange flames licking at the Yuengling symbol on the side of the plant.
It was unclear if damage will have any impact on brewery operations or tours. The brewery does not have Sunday tours, according to its website, and is scheduled to reopen for tours at 9 a.m. Monday.
The Tampa site, a former Stroh brewery, was purchased by Yuengling in 1999. While the company bills its Pottsville, Pa., location as "America's oldest brewery," it has only been brewing beer in Tampa and at its Mill Creek, Pa., facility since 2001.
Will Hobson can be reached at [email protected]y.com or (813) 226-3400.