Arson suspected in 2 auto shop blazes in Fort Pierce
Firefighters saw smoke from the second fire while they were fighting the first.
By Derek Simmonsen staff writer
May 22, 2003
FORT PIERCE ó Arson is the possible cause behind two suspicious car fires that happened within 20 minutes of each other at auto repair shops along U.S. 1 early Wednesday.
The fires are similar to another blaze that took place in the same location in February, records show. The State Fire Marshal's Office will be working with county fire investigators on the case, said Capt. Buddy Emerson of the St. Lucie County Fire Marshall's Office.
"They are notified in the case of significant fires when we feel arson may be involved," Emerson said.
Firefighters received the call of the first fire at 12:56 a.m. Wednesday. They arrived to find three junk cars, used for spare parts, on fire behind Discount Auto Body in the 500 block of Farmer's Market Road, according to a police report.
No one was there at the time and firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control, according to Battalion Chief Carlos Duran, spokesman for the St. Lucie County Fire District. The three cars were destroyed in the fire, he said.
A fire investigator told police that arson was a likely cause of the blaze, the report states.
"While working that fire, our crews saw smoke coming out of the other area," Duran said. The second fire was visible about 20 minutes after firefighters arrived at the first one, he said.
Firefighters found the second fire in the 3300 block of U.S. 1 behind the Auto Clinic repair shop. A 30-foot-long motorhome was on fire along with a Lincoln Towncar and a Chevrolet S10 pickup truck, according to a Sheriff's Office report. Total damage to the three vehicles was reportedly estimated at $12,000.
The fire was quickly brought under control and no one was injured, Duran said.
Fire Investigator Rick Hamner told deputies he believed the fire was started inside the rear of the motorhome and spread forward before the flames spread to the neighboring cars.
An employee at the business, who declined to give his name, said the two cars belonged to customers who had not picked up their vehicles after they were repaired. The RV was not used and was considered junk, the man said.
The RV was totaled and both vehicles sustained moderate damage, the report states.
Firefighters and police previously responded to a similar incident on Feb. 27 in the 500 block of Farmer's Market Road that fit the profile of the Wednesday morning fire.
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05-23-2003, 06:06 AM #1
Ft. Pierce Fla--Blazes Destroy 2 Auto Shops--ARSON??09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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