SPRING HILL — A fire that destroyed businessman and Hernando School Board candidate Gus Guadagnino's vehicle late Thursday is being called "suspicious," according to fire officials.
Guadagnino's Infiniti Crossover caught fire shortly after 11 p.m. in the alley behind Jerry's Place, a popular Spring Hill bar at 10553 Spring Hill Drive, according to Spring Hill Fire Rescue officials.
The car was a total loss, they said.
The state Fire Marshal's Office was notified and was investigating on Friday. It was unclear how soon the office would determine the cause of the blaze.
A report of the fire came in at 11:17 p.m., and it was out within minutes, fire officials said. There were no reports of explosions.
Guadagnino, the semiretired owner of Joni Industries and Seaboard Pencil Co. and a well-known figure in the Hernando business community, said he was talking to the owner at Jerry's Place when he was told of the fire.
Most of the back of the vehicle was burned up, he said, and smoke filled the vehicle.
Guadagnino is one of four candidates seeking the District 4 School Board seat on the Aug. 14 election ballot.
Danny Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432.