Sunday, January 21, 2018
Public safety

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.

 
Comments

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding driver on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three people early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montanez...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred e...
Published: 01/21/18
Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

WEEKI WACHEE — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday investigated the death of a Hillsborough County man in the Eagle’s Nest, an underwater network of caves where at least 11 others have died since 1981.Even experienced divers have lost th...
Published: 01/20/18

Bicyclist dead after being hit by car in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, police said.Police were still investigating the crash in the 8700 block of 49th Street N late Saturday morning.Police shut down northbound 49th Street...
Published: 01/20/18

Motorcyclist crashes into Subaru while trying to flee Pinellas deputies

CLEARWATER — A 21-year-old fleeing from deputies on a motorcycle crashed into car while speeding away from a cruiser Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Brown, of Clearwater, was recklessly driving his 2016...
Published: 01/20/18

Clearwater man in critical condition after medical episode while driving

DUNEDIN — A 60-year-old Clearwater man who likely had a medical episode while driving is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after rolling over his car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A Largo police off...
Published: 01/20/18

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Published: 01/19/18

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Published: 01/19/18
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Published: 01/19/18