St. Petersburg Times

Blaze destroys apartment building
By Times Staff Writer
Published May 1, 2005

NEW PORT RICHEY - A fire early Saturday destroyed a $480,000 apartment building under construction on Seven Springs Boulevard near Perrine Ranch Road, fire officials reported.

A state trooper noticed flames coming from the three-story building about 2:15 a.m. Firefighters battled the blaze until 3:39 a.m., Pasco County Fire Marshal Larry Whitten said.

The fire charred a billboard about 300 feet away. Flames spread to two nearby power poles. Grass burned across the street. One of the fire engines' tail lights melted.

"We had radiant heat that was really heavy," Whitten said. He said firefighters did well to contain the blaze to the 24-unit building and prevent its spread to other apartment buildings being constructed on the property and to homes across the street.

The fire appears to have started at the south end of the building, Whitten said, but he said investigators had not yet determined its cause.

The apartments, The Columns at Seven Springs, have been under construction for about three months, Whitten said. They are being developed by ECI Capital Inc.

[Last modified April 30, 2005, 23:59:18]