2 Storage Units Damaged in Fire
Firefighters from Auburndale and Polk County respond to call.

By Merissa Green
The Ledger

AUBURNDALE -- Two storage units near Recker Highway were damaged by fire Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters from Auburndale and Polk County responded to the 2:29 p.m. call to Barton Commercial Park, 1815 Thornhill Road.

Auburndale sent five firetrucks to the scene while the county responded with three.

The incident occurred on the southeast side of the property, which has several storage buildings.

When they arrived, firefighters could only see smoke, said Polk County Deputy Fire Chief Mike Linkins.

Firefighters cut open eight storage units with a chain saw, and a thermal imaging camera was used to determine where the fire was located, Linkins said.

"Without it, they would've had to cut open all 32 units," he said.

It took 15 minutes to extinguish the fire, said Auburndale Fire Chief Sam Efurd.

Firefighters used fans to ventilate the smoky storage units, Efurd said.

Fire officials were unsure late Thursday what caused the fire. The state fire marshal's office is investigating.

Delores Barton, co-owner of the storage center, said she has owned the property with her husband since 1983 and this is the first time a fire has occurred.

"I feel sad because we feel responsible for the people's belongings," she said. "That's the reason why we have 24-hour security," she said.

The security officers will watch over the damaged units and secure the damaged doors until they can be fixed, Barton said.

Merissa Green can be reached at merissa.green@theledger.com or at 863-401-6968.