Firefighters hurt in downtown blaze

The fire at abandoned hotel appeared to be deliberately set, authorities say.

By BRIDGET MURPHY, The Times-Union

Three Jacksonville firefighters were hurt Friday in a blaze authorities said someone purposely set in the garage of a six-story abandoned downtown hotel at Ocean and State streets.

The fire broke out about 10:45 a.m., sending up a thick plume of black smoke as several fire companies converged on the scene, using saws and sledgehammers to force their way inside the ground floor.

Firefighters didn't find anyone inside the former Park View Inn when they swept the building after getting reports a child and a woman might be inside, authorities said.

Several firefighters carried fire engineer Richard Barrett, the fire chief's son, out of a wall they breached in the first story after he was hurt inside the fire.

He was taken to Baptist Medical Center with a leg and ankle injury.

Two other firefighters, Lt. Trace Barrow and J.F. Mooneyham, also had minor injuries and went to Baptist.

The garage was filled with mattresses and evidence that someone set the fire, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department spokeswoman Bennie Seth said.

She said there was a city hearing scheduled for Friday on whether to condemn the building., (904) 359-4161