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Dade City's Serenity Tan and Spa endures three fires in five days

DADE CITY — Serenity Tan and Spa on Pasco Avenue may be the city's unluckiest building.

The spa, owned by David Hernandez, husband of City Commissioner Camille Hernandez, has caught fire three times in five days, officials said. The worst damage occurred in a blaze Thursday morning.

Little is known about what caused the fires or the extent of the damage. Attempts to reach the Hernandezes were unsuccessful Thursday. The state Fire Marshal's Office, which is investigating the early morning blaze, had little information to release by Thursday evening.

Here's what is known:

Pasco County Fire Rescue responded to a call Saturday about a small fire at the spa at 38043 Pasco Ave. It was out by the time firefighters arrived, said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Ciccarello.

A small candle in a massage room was apparently to blame. The damage was "very minimal," Ciccarello said.

The next day, Pasco Fire Rescue workers responded to another blaze that had burned itself out by their arrival.

Pasco Fire Rescue did not have information on the cause of Sunday's fire, but did have an estimate for damage: about $10,000 worth.

The estimated damage from Thursday morning's fire was much higher: $50,000.

The tan wooden bungalow remained standing, but the windows were knocked out and the inside was reportedly scorched. Pasco Fire Rescue responded just after midnight and needed almost 45 minutes to put the fire out, Ciccarello said.

What caused the fire, or where it started, is unknown.

According to a report from Dade City police, a fire captain found the back door unlocked. Detective Max Melendez from the state Fire Marshal's Office said that sounded suspicious.

As for the fact that this was the third fire in less than a week at the location: "That doesn't sound good," Melendez said.

His office will continue to investigate.

According to Pasco County property records, the building was bought for $88,000 in 2004 by David Hernandez's business ANPM Enterprises.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Dade City's Serenity Tan and Spa endures three fires in five days 07/09/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 9, 2009 8:58pm]
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