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Ceiling fire causes damage to Cape business; Lint trap in dryer vent caught spark

By Staff | Sep 9, 2008

Two businesses in one Del Prado Boulevard shopping plaza made emergency phone calls to the Cape Coral Fire Department on Monday morning.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., the fire department responded to an emergency call at 3013 Del Prado Blvd. Employees at the Touch of Class Pet Grooming and Spa stated that a fire had started within the business’ ceiling.

“The ceiling got on fire, it’s an electric issue. Apparently it is electric,” said Pedro Gonzalez, an employee.

Gonzalez and fellow employee Margie Stevens said the business was holding nine animals — including two rescued kittens, two dogs and a bird.

“It came out of the ceiling,” said Stevens. “Our first concern is getting the animals out.”

Cape firefighters ripped down the ceiling within the pet grooming office as employees stood by animal cages removed from the building and placed on the sidewalk.

Connie Barron, city spokesperson, said the fire caused approximately $5,000 worth of damage but did not spread to other businesses in the plaza.

“It was contained to the unit,” said Barron. “There wasn’t much to it at all.”

Fire officials said the conflagration started because of an uncleaned dryer vent. Lint trapped in the vent caught a spark and the ceiling filled with flames.

One employee from a business next door was given oxygen after trying to battle the fire. According to firsthand reports, the man was using a fire extinguisher to contain the flames and suffered from smoke inhalation.

No other injuries were reported.

As a precaution, the entire plaza was evacuated.

Minutes after noon the Midpoint Chiropractic Center, also at 3013 Del Prado Blvd., reported a strong odor of electrical burning.

“The business next to it called later and said they smelled something burning,” said Barron.

Responders later reported that the smell was not the result of a fire, but instead was a burned out ballast and light bulb.