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Fire threatens homes

By Staff | May 31, 2008


A 15-acre brush fire north of Pine Island Road between Santa Barbara and Andalusia Boulevards was 90 to 100 percent contained by Friday evening, but not before threatening nearby neighborhoods and businesses and spewing black smoke through the air.

No one was harmed as a result of the fire, which was called in at approximately 12:57 p.m., and only one home suffered damage to an aluminum siding, said city spokesperson Connie Barron. Officials would remain on scene through the evening to ensure the fire does not flare up again, she said.

“I was coming to pick up my daughter when I saw the smoke,” said nearby resident Zach Mena.

Mena was with daughter Victoria in a field watching as a forestry helicopter dumped water on the blaze. A trailer sat in the field on the edge of a forested area to the south; Mena said the trailer and the lot in which it sat belonged to Ray Jesus Church, which he helped oversee the construction of.

He felt neither the lot nor his home — about a mile from the affected area — were threatened by the fire.

We said some prayers that will keep the fire out of here,” he said. “This is holy ground.

Mike Greenwells, the Cape Coral Moose lodge and a nearby church were asked to evacuate voluntarily due to the immediate danger of the fire, as well as six to eight homes on Northeast 4th Street.

Though no homes were destroyed from the fire, firefighters had to battle flames licking one home which ended up with a damaged aluminum siding, according to District 6 Councilmember Tim Day who was on scene around 1:30 p.m. District 6 includes the area affected by the fire and Day also is the director of the region’s police and fire academies.

The siding melted off of that, but they did save the house itself and those guys did a wonderful job,” Day said.

Hector Cafferata Elementary School was notified but did not evacuate, said Barron.

Agencies on-scene at the fire included Cape Coral, Tice, Pine Island, Fort Myers and Charlotte Fire Departments, as well as Forestry aircraft and tractors, Barron said.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, she said.

Firefighters fought back an earlier 10-acre fire near the Burnt Store Marina at approximately 1 a.m. on Friday, with the assistance of the Charlotte Fire Department, Barron said. That fire was contained within several hours.