St. Petersburg Times--Pasco County

Storage building burns

By Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times
published June 26, 2003

DADE CITY - An early morning fire Wednesday that destroyed a storage building owned by St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church was deliberately set, officials said.

The fire started around 1 a.m. in a two-story building on Sixth Street at Martin Luther King Boulevard, said Dade City Fire Capt. Joey Wubbena. The fire was under control and put out within 10 minutes but caused enough damage to the first floor for officials to order it condemned, he said.

The church was working with a contractor to demolish it anyway, he added, and the building was not insured. He did not have a damage estimate. The building stored tables, lumber and other goods for the church, he said. An official with the state fire marshal's office visited the scene and found an "accelerant," or a material that sparked the blaze, proving arson, he said.

The material will be sent to a laboratory for identification. The fire started inside the building on the first floor. One entrance was locked, he said, but he did not know if the other entrance was secured because it was damaged in the fire.

Representatives at the church could not be reached for comment. Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call Lt. Tony Hicks at 521-1494.