Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fire forces evacuation of Palm Harbor apartment complex

PALM HARBOR — They smelled smoke. They heard a fire alarm. But some residents at the Landings at Boot Ranch didn't budge until neighbors told them to get out.

More than 30 people were evacuated Thursday from the complex after a fire crept inside an exterior wall, pushing smoke into several apartments, said Bob Markford, EMS and safety chief for Palm Harbor Fire Rescue.

Smoke filled several apartments. But no one was injured and none of the units sustained direct fire damage, Markford said.

At 12:41 p.m., a tenant in one of the ground-floor units smelled smoke and called for help. About nine crews from Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor and East Lake arrived at the Katherine Boulevard apartment complex, after initial crews called for backup.

At first, firefighters saw only puffs of smoke, but more crews were called to the Landings in case fire spread to adjoining units, Markford said.

"In something like this, you're better off getting a little bit ahead of it because you can always send them home," Markford said.

One of the Palm Harbor crews found the source of the fire using a thermal imager. The fire apparently began inside an exterior wall near unit No. 8110, which first alerted authorities. Flames climbed inside the wall over to the second-floor balcony.

Crews took 45 minutes to extinguish the fire because they wanted to make sure it was completely out, Markford.

"My mom smelled smoke for about an hour," said Aaron Bassi, 15, who lives in a second-floor apartment with his mother, brother and sister.

They stayed put for several minutes after the alarm went off because they thought it was a drill, he said. The complex had a fire drill the day before.

Isabelle Raggins, 61, who lives with her cousin and granddaughter, searched her apartment for fire after a neighbor knocked on her door and said tenants smelled smoke. But Raggins and her family didn't evacuate until someone else knocked at the door and told them to get out.

A couple of hours after the call, a few firefighters were still on the scene, working to get electricity turned back on and trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167. Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

Fire forces evacuation of Palm Harbor apartment complex 11/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2009 8:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies on Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre put Texas ahead 4-3 when he scored after two wild pitches.
  2. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  3. 13-year-old Janessa's father holds memorial service at Rogers Middle School

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — About 100 people sat in the tile-floored multipurpose room Saturday at Rodgers Middle School where Janessa Shannon once sat as a student.

    A mourner embraces Nahshon Shannon after the memorial service for Nahshon’s daughter, Janessa, Saturday at Rodgers Middle School in Riverview.
  4. Trump: Aircraft carrier a symbol of America's might (w/video)

    Politics

    NORFOLK, Va. — With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed.

    President Donald Trump commissions the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.
  5. Kushner discloses additional $10M in assets

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner "inadvertently omitted" more than 70 assets worth at least $10.6 million from his personal financial disclosure reports, according to revised paperwork released Friday.

    Kushner