LEALMAN — More than 50 firefighters battled a blaze at a bar early Friday that caused about $100,000 damage.
Authorities said the fire was arson, but have not released the cause or origin.
Fire crews responded to the Hideaway at 5046 37th St. N about 2 a.m.
Neighbors said the bar has been closed for about three years. The building was declared a total loss.
By 6 a.m., the building was still smoldering and the roof had collapsed near the entrance. Water pooled in the front parking lot.
There were no reported injuries.
Firefighters from four agencies fought the flames for nearly an hour before getting the fire under control.
Bob Meikle, 83, who lives nearby, said he was evacuated very early Friday by a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy.
Flames were shooting 10 to 15 feet above the bar's roof.
He said he was grateful the deputy got him out because he has emphysema and could barely breathe. "The sheriff and fire departments were marvelous," he said.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles 3658 next door was damaged by smoke and water, said Joe Holland, the head trustee for the group. Holland arrived about 6 a.m. after leaving his job at the warehouse of the St. Petersburg Times.
The group's building isn't connected to the Hideaway, he said. A deputy told him that flames were rolling over the roof of the club's building.
Holland said the club had been talking with the owners of the Hideaway about renting or buying their building to expand.