Fire Damages Florida Funeral Home

Investigators are trying to determine what sparked a fire at an Orange County funeral home on Wednesday morning.

Apopka firefighters were called to the Marvin C. Zanders Funeral Home on Michael Gladden Boulevard at about 2:30 a.m., WESH 2 News reported.

Zanders was out on a death call when the fire started.

"When I hit the back street and came up through the alley, I could see the smoke coming out of the funeral home. It wasn't blazing and I couldn't see no fire," Zanders said.

He said he is concerned about the families who will be stopping by the funeral home on Wednesday. Less than a dozen bodies are still inside.

"I was surprised and I was shocked, but the only thing I was worried about -- I was worried about the remains I got in there. I got remains in there for funerals this weekend, and I got a visitation for a funeral tomorrow," he said. "I've got families coming in in the morning to make arrangements, and that's what I was so shocked about."

No one was injured in the fire.

The state fire marshal's office said the fire started in a linen closet that had some cleaning supplies in it. The closet is located in an apartment where the funeral director lived.

"I left nothing on in there. So, it's got to be an electrical shortage or something with my air conditioning and caught a fire or something," Zanders said.

Fire investigators said they don't think the fire was electrical. An accelerant-detecting dog was sniffing to see what could have sparked the fire. The state fire marshal's office said samples have been sent to a lab, and there has been no determination yet whether the fire was accidental or suspicious.

Fire inspectors said the side of the funeral home with the office and apartment suffered significant damage and may have to be rebuilt. The funeral home side of the building sustained minimal damage, mostly from smoke.

Zander has been serving the community since the 1960s. Some local funeral home directors came out to see how they could help Zanders in his time of need.

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