Tropicana Products Warehouse Fire in Florida Under Investigation

A column of thick black smoke greeted fire fighters Tuesday as they arrived at a warehouse blaze at Tropicana Products Inc.


A column of thick black smoke greeted fire fighters Tuesday as they arrived at a warehouse blaze at Tropicana Products Inc.

Demolition activities within the plant at 1010 13th Ave. E. might have caused the blaze, according to a news release from the Southern Manatee Fire Department.

The building was lined with a foam-like insulation material that caused the heavy smoke, the release stated.

Pete Brace, a Tropicana spokesman based in Chicago, said he was not aware of any demolition activities within the plant.

An alarm within the plant alerted officials of the fire, said Steve Lezman, a local Tropicana spokesman.

"All our safety procedures were in place and worked well," Lezman said. "We were very fortunate no one was hurt."

Tropicana and fire officials said the building was empty, and there were no reported injuries from the blaze.

Three engines and two chief officers from Southern Manatee Fire responded to the call that came in around 11:10 a.m., the release stated.

Units from the Bradenton Fire Department and Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue assisted.

Twenty-seven fire fighters managed to get the fire under control in 42 minutes, the release stated.

Lezman, who has been with Tropicana for 17 years, said he cannot remember there ever being a fire at the plant. He said his company is still estimating the damages.

Lt. Lester Godlin of Southern Manatee Fire said the building was not burnt to the ground. He said the fire department will continue its investigation on the cause of the fire.