Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fire causes $1 million in damage to Rocky Point hotel

TAMPA — As smoke billowed around him, Nick Barbaresi slept. Until his dog, Marbles, woke him.

"She was jumping all over and started barking," Barbaresi said Sunday morning as he stood in the parking lot of the Chase Suite Hotel in Rocky Point, staring at a gaping hole where the roof over his suite used to be.

At first, the 29-year-old from Connecticut thought he had left the stove on. Then he realized the smoke was coming from an adjacent suite.

"I could hear the crackle of fire right behind my closet," Barbaresi said. That's when he grabbed his Pomeranian and computer and got out of the building.

Tampa Fire Rescue responded to the fire at 7:25 a.m. About 50 guests of the extended-stay hotel at 3075 Rocky Point Drive were evacuated, and no injuries were reported.

Crews were still investigating the cause of the fire Sunday afternoon.

Flames burned a hole through the roof and through some walls of a suite on the second floor of Building 14, said Lt. Tamera Kemp, a spokeswoman for Tampa Fire Rescue. Some flames also spread to Barbaresi's suite. Crews had the fire under control in about 35 minutes.

The hotel has 16 buildings with eight units in each. Fire and smoke damaged four units and water damaged two others.

Guests whose suites were no longer habitable were moved to unoccupied rooms. The Red Cross was called in to help a few of the guests who lost personal items or airline tickets.

The cost of damage is estimated at more than $1 million, Kemp said.

Brett Cayer, 49, awoke to the smell of smoke and a pounding at his door about 7:30 a.m. He figured he wasn't in immediate danger, so he took his time evacuating — then saw the flames a couple of buildings down and hurried up.

"It looked like one of the chimneys was on fire," he said.

Cayer, who is also from Connecticut, and Barbaresi had been staying in the apartment-style suites since October while they worked on a nearby construction project.

Barbaresi said that although this was the only day of the week he could have slept in, he was thankful for the early wake-up call from his dog.

Marbles, meanwhile, was resting in Barbaresi's new suite.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at (813) 226-3374 or

Fire causes $1 million in damage to Rocky Point hotel 06/13/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A second mistrial: Jury deadlocks in Ohio cop's murder retrial


    CINCINNATI — A mistrial was declared Friday in the murder retrial of a white University of Cincinnati police officer after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on charges in the fatal traffic stop shooting of an unarmed black motorist.

    Former University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond Tensing, left, and his attorney Stew Mathews listen as Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz tells the jury to continue deliberations after the jury said they are deadlocked during Tensing's trial on Friday in Cincinnati. [AP photo]
  2. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois


    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.

  3. What to watch this weekend: 'GLOW,' second season of 'Preacher'


    Ready to rumble: GLOW

    Four words: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Yes, the fluorescent, body-slamming soap opera GLOW starring a cast of exaggerated characters is back, this time as a fictionalized Netflix series. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) stars as Ruth, a down-on-her-luck actor …

    Alison Brie, left, and Betty Gilpin in GLOW on Netflix.
  4. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students


    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszlo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  5. Editorial: Trump, not military, should set troop levels in Afghanistan


    There is no task more solemn for any American president than the decision to send troops off to war. In delegating authority over troops levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has shirked his obligation to own and defend his Afghan policy, while further divorcing America's military strategy there …