Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

50-acre brush fire in Ruskin under control after Interstate 75 closed

Hillsborough County firefighters battled a 50-acre brush fire in Ruskin on Saturday that destroyed a warehouse and burned several cars, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

The fire was under control as of 3 p.m., agency spokesman Ronnie Rivera said.

The smoke was so thick that authorities initially closed Interstate 75 in both directions. The southbound lanes reopened at 3:30 p.m., but the northbound lanes remained closed until about 6:15 p.m.

The fire was burning on both the east and west sides of I-75, Rivera said, centered near the area of 27th Street SE and 22nd Avenue SE.

Robert Phillips, 63, owned the warehouse that burned down Saturday. Sitting on 10 acres of unused farm land, the building housed a few farming and building supplies, including about 400 fence posts Phillips had planned to install soon. His son, who lives on 27th Street SE called with the news. Phillips, who was just a few miles away, knew the building was a lost cause as soon as he saw the smoke.

"I could see black smoke from across the interstate," he said, "and I figured everything was gone."

The fire also destroyed a few old racing cars and some farming equipment parked on the land.

"Some of the vehicles were quite valuable," he said. "But I'm glad there weren't any homes."

This is the second time in a few years this piece of land has caught fire, Phillips said. Fireworks were the cause then, he said.

The cause of Saturday's fire is still unknown, Rivera said. It started with about five acres at about noon Saturday just south of the Sun City Center exit of I-75. In just a few hours it grew to 50 acres.

"It's just so dry and windy, it grew out of control," Rivera said.

By late afternoon, the fire was contained to the east side of I-75 and under control with crews continuing to monitor hot spots. No homes were affected and there were no injuries, Rivera said.

50-acre brush fire in Ruskin under control after Interstate 75 closed 03/30/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest

    BY AMY SCHERZER

    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.