Roof fire burns at Breakers


CHARLOTTE HARBOR -- When smoke billowed through the roof at Breakers Restaurant and Brew Pub on Monday night, things could have been bad. Good thing the headquarters of Charlotte Fire & EMS is only a couple of blocks away.

It was near closing time, and only one table was still occupied when manager Martin Tartagila smelled smoke. He reportedly pulled down a ceiling tile in the kitchen, and smoke billowed out. The restaurant was immediately evacuated.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported at 9:16 p.m., said Fire & EMS spokeswoman Dee Hawkins. The first fire trucks arrived at the restaurant, 23241 Bayshore Road, Charlotte Harbor, in three minutes.

According to a fire department report, the electrical fire broke out in the three-story building's roof. That area, a built-up parapet that housed the restaurant's neon sign, is above the sprinkler system.

An attempt to attack the fire from inside was unsuccessful at first, so an aerial hose was used to knock the fire down. When firefighters got access through a drop ceiling in the kitchen area, the aerial attack was called off.

Three engines and a ladder truck were dispatched. Battalion Chief Brad Wasmus and Deputy Fire Chief Max Lopez directed the attack, and the fire was under control at 10:05 p.m.

In addition to the fire damage, there was some water and smoke damage, Hawkins said. The report lists property damage at $40,000 and damage to the restaurant's contents at $60,000.

The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating, but the investigator could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Staff cleaning up the restaurant on Tuesday morning also declined to comment. The waterfront property, which is owned by Breakers LLC, a Port Charlotte corporation, was sold as vacant for $100 in 1998 and is currently assessed at $812,036.

Staff photographer Jonathan Fredin contributed to this report.

You can e-mail Malcolm Brenner at mbrenner@sun-herald.com


By MALCOLM BRENNER

Staff Writer