SEMINOLE — A popular Seminole Boulevard bar was destroyed by a wind-fed fire early Monday, according to authorities.
Screwie Louie's Porpoise Pub, a favorite watering hole for Tampa Bay motorcyclists, was burned to the ground, said Seminole Fire Rescue spokesman Brad Dykens.
"It was a pretty intense fire," he said.
Crews responded to the bar about 1:39 a.m. Monday. A passer-by saw flames at the rear of the building and called 911. No one was hurt. Dykens said firefighters from Largo and Pinellas Park also responded, and the fire was knocked down in about an hour.
A crisp wind helped fuel the blaze, Dykens said. Investigators from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office remained on scene later Monday trying to determine the cause of the fire.
Across the street, owner Louis Falco watched from the seat of his truck as crews cleared the scene. Screwie Louie's, once just known as Porpoise Pub, was opened in 1961, according to its website. It was first famous as a beer garden with a large swim tank for a porpoise.
"A lot of people have met there," Falco said. He got a call about the fire at 2 a.m. Monday.
Over the years, according to its website, the pub played host to several rock bands, including Foghat and Quiet Riot. It also frequently hosted fundraisers. An American Heart Association event was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, according to the bar's Facebook page.
Members of a small crowd gathered outside the charred structure Monday said they believed the next benefit would be for the pub. Falco said he hoped to rebuild.
"It's a shame," he said softly as crews doused the last of the smoldering wood.