Local News Florida Today

Extension cord cited in bar fire

By Judy Berman

COCOA BEACH -- Revelers planning to toast in the New Year's at Pineapple Pointe tavern will have to go elsewhere. An early-morning fire on Saturday closed the bar and grill.

Co-owner Stephen Munson said he saw very dark smoke seeping out of the upstairs tower about 7:45 a.m. on his way into work. When he opened the front door, smoke poured out everywhere. He ran to a phone outside the bar at 142 N. Atlantic Ave.

A bad extension cord might have caused the fire, Cocoa Beach fire inspector Mark Amaral said. The cord to a Christmas tree on the bar was plugged in, but the tree was not turned on. It had been lit until about 2 a.m. Saturday.

The bar did not have fire insurance, Amaral said.

"It's another rough bump in my life. But God always gets people through things, if they just have faith," Munson said, hopeful that owners will be able to re-open within a month.

Then, he fought back tears as he remembered how he opened the bar in memory of his brother Ryan, who died a few years ago. He said that he, his brother Paul and some friends were just trying to start a business and make it on their own.

"We have support from others. But it's been rough. It's been one tragedy after another," Stephen Munson said.

He said they have to refund deposits made for a New Year's Eve party.

Assistant City Manager A. J. Hutson said the city will do what it can to help the owners with permitting and inspections so they can reopen.

"I always feel bad when something like this happens. Look at the sign," Hutson said. "The plans were to have a New Year's Eve event. Now their plans are focused on recovery of their business."

Fire Chief Ron Williams said nine firefighters from his department and three firefighters from Brevard County Fire-Rescue responded to the blaze. It was knocked down in minutes. There was water and smoke damage throughout.