Advertisement
  1. News

Back-to-back fires require razing 1904 Ybor City building, owner says

For the second time in two weeks, a fire broke out at a vacant gay bathhouse in Ybor City early Saturday. The first fire caused $100,000 in damage was ruled an arson, but no arrests have been made. [WTSP]
Published Mar. 20, 2017

YBOR CITY— The new owners of a building where fire broke out two weekends in a row say they had hoped to remodel the 1904 building but now will tear it down for new construction.

Meantime, investigators are treating the two fires at the Ybor Resort & Spa as related, said Jason Penny, Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman.

"This goes back to the original fire," Penny said.

Ariel Quintela, co-owner of the building, said the developers plan commercial space on the first floor at the site with three floors of apartments above it. The fires in the early morning hours of successive Saturdays, March 11 and March 18, scuttled plans to remodel the two-story building.

"It's scary and it's sad that anyone would do that," Quintela said, "It's hard to explain why but it's to the point that you know it's the same person; you know someone has a vendetta."

Quintela is a partner in Ybor Patio, which bought the building at 1512 E 8th Ave., on Feb. 8 and took possession March 8.

The Ybor Resort & Spa advertised as a gay-owned and gay-operated private men's club, resort and bathhouse.

The first fire occurred at 3:30 a.m. March 11 and caused an estimated $100,000 damage. It was ruled an arson after investigators determined an someone entered the vacant building illegally and set fires at a number of spots.

The investigation was still under way when the second fire broke out Saturday.

Anyone with information about the fires may contact the city Fire Marshal's Office at (813) 274-7000 or use the anonymous tips page at www.tampagov.net/arsontips.

Rewards of up to $2,500 or more are available for information leading to the identification of persons involved in arson fires.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos listens to a speaker share an opinion about a city matter during a city council meeting at Clearwater City Hall in Clearwater, Fla. on Thursday, April 20, 2017.  On Thursday, the Clearwater City Council rejected the mayor's resolution urging lawmakers to ban assault weapons.  [Times files] TIMES FILES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the city did pass a resolution calling for more modest gun control measures.
  2. An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft approaches Miami International Airport for landing in March. Bloomberg
    The 60-year-old veteran airline employee told investigators he was upset that union contract negotiations had stalled.
  3. Maurice A. Ferré at his Miami home earlier this year. JOSE A. IGLESIAS  |  Miami Herald
    He served as mayor for 12 years and set the stage for Miami to become an international city.
  4. Lilly Beth Rodriguez, left, Laura Robertson and Linda Lamont work on a Habitat for Humanity house in north Pasco. [Times (2013)]
    The increase is expected to happen in the first half of next year. CEO hopes other nonprofits follow suit.
  5. Terry Spencer carries his daughter, Trinity, through high water on 59th Street near Stewart Road in Galveston, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, as heavy rain from Tropical Depression Imelda caused street flooding on the island. JENNIFER REYNOLDS  |  AP
    Although the amount of predicted rainfall is massive — forecasters say some places could see 40 inches or more this week.
  6. This April 2001 photo, which appeared in a newsletter from the West Point Grey Academy, shows a costumed Justin Trudeau, his face and hands darkened by makeup, attending an "Arabian Nights" gala. The academy is a private school in Vancouver, B.C., where Trudeau worked as a teacher before entering politics. (West Point Grey Academy/The Canadian Press via AP)
    A few Southern politicians responded to similar scandals recently with denials, apologies, and promises. Most of them have managed to stay in office.
  7. The number of single-family homes sold in the Tampa Bay area during August rose 2.8 percent when compared with the same month last year, according to a monthly report from Florida Realtors. (Times file photo)
    The midpoint price in the bay area rose to $250,000, which is still lower than the state and national median prices.
  8. This April 14, 2019 file photo shows a western meadowlark in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo. According to a study released on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, North America’s skies are lonelier and quieter as nearly 3 billion fewer wild birds soar in the air than in 1970. Some of the most common and recognizable birds are taking the biggest hits, even though they are not near disappearing yet. The population of eastern meadowlarks has shriveled by more than three-quarters with the western meadowlark nearly as hard hit. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) DAVID ZALUBOWSKI  |  AP
    “People need to pay attention to the birds around them because they are slowly disappearing,” said the study’s lead author.
  9. Michael Robert-Jose Harbaugh has pleaded guilty in the 2017 slaying of Safety Harbor neighbor David Sommer, a former reporter. Harbaugh also pleaded guilty to a charge he tried to have a witness in the case killed. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    Former journalist David Sommer was killed in 2017. Michael Harbaugh, 42, agreed to serve 30 years in prison for his crimes.
  10. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement