Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg early morning fire deemed arson

ST. PETERSBURG — For the second time in a month, someone tossed a bottle filled with flammable liquid through the window of a home on 15th Avenue S.

The first incident caused little damage. The second gutted Lolita Lewis' bedroom.

The bottle was thrown before dawn through the hospital worker's bedroom window, Lewis said, and "burnt my stuff to a crisp." No one was home at the time.

Deputy Fire Marshal Joel Granata said Monday morning's fire was intentionally set but would not confirm how. The 1,550-square-foot home, valued at about $148,000, had about $60,000 in damage.

Police investigated a May 23 arson at the home at 3090 15th Ave. S, but no one was arrested, said police spokesman George Kajtsa. Fire investigators determined that a flaming projectile probably was used in that arson. It was tossed through one of Lewis' son's bedroom windows.

Hours after the 5 a.m. blaze, Lewis' charred and waterlogged belongings were piled in an alley as Red Cross workers prepared to help her find new clothes. Lewis was at work when the fire was started, on the late shift as a patient-care technician at Bayfront Medical Center.

Her sons, Jimmie, 12, and Jamarcus, 14, were with their father when the fire began. The fire did not spread past her bedroom, she said.

Firefighters put it out quickly and Lewis, for the second time, arrived home to find police and firefighters at her house.

"If I was here, I might have been able to have saved my stuff," she said. "It landed right on my bed, so I might have been able to put it out."

Lewis said she has no insurance. As evening approached Monday, she said her family's only options for shelter were to stay with relatives or with the Red Cross.

"I don't know," she said. "I'm still trying to figure out where I'm going to stay."

St. Petersburg early morning fire deemed arson 06/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 29, 2009 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier (w/video)


    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday denied it cruelly treated or tortured an American student who was detained for more than year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  2. Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating President Trump at Glastonbury Festival (w/video)


    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

    Actor Johnny Depp introduces a film at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. [Grant Pollard | Invision/AP]
  3. Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's



  4. Florida education news: Charter schools, traveling man, lunch prices and more


    #HB7069: Now that it's law, HB 7069 has a new target on its back: Will it be challenged in court? Broward County Democrat Sen. Gary Farmer says he's doing all he can "to …

    Thousands of children attend Florida charter schools, which are growing in number and now stand to receive capital projects local tax revenue.
  5. Forecast: Hot, humid and mostly dry conditions prevail for St. Pete Pride weekend


    The threat of any lingering effects from Tropical Storm Cindy have passed, leaving behind a relatively dry — but hot and humid — St. Pete Pride weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast [WTSP]