1. #1
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    Post Sarasota County Fla--15 Acre Fire Threatens Homes

    Fire in park close call for residents
    Authorities put out the mysterious blaze at Shamrock Park; they plan to reopen the park to the public today.


    By MIKE SAEWITZ
    mike.saewitz@heraldtribune.com


    SARASOTA COUNTY -- When Maureen Pippin saw a thick plume of smoke coming from Shamrock Park and a fire truck parked in front of her Shamrock Drive home Saturday afternoon, she worried her house was on fire.

    Her husband, Stuart, worried the fire had gotten to the red Dodge Stealth he dusts every morning in his garage.

    "It scared the heck out of us," said Stuart Pippin Sr., a 74-year-old retired dental laboratory technician. "When you work 24 years and it looks like it's all gone, it gives you a fright."

    The fire that started in the 200-acre park at 2:30 p.m. was within about 30 feet of Pippin's house and four others before the Sarasota County Fire Department and several other local agencies were able to control it by 4:30 p.m.

    Authorities are investigating the cause of the suspicious fire, which they said burned 15 acres of tall trees but started near a walking path.

    "It's definitely not Mother Nature," said Rick Christman, forest area supervisor for the Florida Division of Forestry. "We know that for sure."

    The fire, which comes near the start of wildfire season, didn't injure anyone or damage any of the houses that back up to the park's eastern edge. Most residents who live there were gone when the fire started near the intersection of Shamrock Drive and Redstart Road, so no one had to be evacuated, fire officials said.

    A drainage ditch behind the houses stopped the fire from getting any closer than it did, said Chuck Johnston, wildfire mitigation specialist for the Sarasota County Fire Department. High winds and the lower relative humidity following the recent cold front made the fire spread aggressively, forcing firefighters to battle the blaze for nearly two hours.

    "We had some pretty close calls in there," Johnston said.

    On the east, the park backs up to modest, concrete block homes with neatly mowed lawns. On the west, it fronts the Intracoastal Waterway.

    The Pippins were coming home from a friend's 90th birthday party at 4:30 p.m. while firefighters from North Port, Englewood and Sarasota County battled the blaze.

    Herman Davis, who's lived on Shamrock Drive for 25 years, sat on top of his roof with a hose. He wet his roof to prevent drifting ash from setting fire to the top of his house.

    "Nothing like this has ever happened to me," Davis said.

    While wildfires are common in Florida in the season just prior to summer rains, residents in the Shamrock Park area said they don't remember any other fires near their houses except for a controlled burn four years ago that may have gotten a little out of hand.

    And Christman said the only park fire he remembers started in 2002 when lightning struck a tree.

    Authorities monitored the park late Saturday, and plan on re-opening it to the public today.



    The fire actually eliminated a lot of the high trees near the houses, making it safer for residents during the rest of fire season, Christman said.

    "It could've been a whole lot worse than it was," he said.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Post Manatee Fla--Fire In Exhaust System Damages Boat Plant

    Manatee Herald

    Fire at boat plant

    Southern Manatee firefighters put out a blaze at the Chris-Craft manufacturing plant in Bradenton on Saturday morning, authorities said.

    A sawdust collection system at the plant at 8151 15th St. E., Bradenton caught fire at about 6 a.m., Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Pete Donchenko said. A firefighter was take to Manatee Memorial Hospital where he was treated for a knee injury sustained while fighting the fire, according to Manatee County EMS Capt. Greg Thomas. Donchenko said a piece of piping fell on the firefighter, and he was treated and released Saturday.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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