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Fire damages Largo martial arts studio

LARGO — A decades-old dojo where children trained in martial arts caught fire early Sunday morning, leaving no injuries, according to Largo Fire Rescue.

Firefighters arriving at Authentic Martial Arts before 2 a.m. found heavy smoke pouring from the roof of the academy, said District Fire Chief Jeremiah McAuliffe. The studio, at 780 Missouri Ave., took 45 minutes and about 20 fire and rescue vehicles to extinguish.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, McAuliffe said. No one was at the school at the time of the fire, and apartments located behind the dojo were not damaged.

The academy opened in 1980. Its owner, Ric Martin, was the first American to win the All-Okinawa World Karate Championships in 1994.

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Fire damages Largo martial arts studio 08/16/09 [Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:13pm]
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