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Authorities open investigation into morning house fire

By Staff | Apr 1, 2009

The Lee County Arson Unit is investigating a suspicious house fire at 1770 Emerald Cove Circle that occurred early Tuesday morning.
The home was completely destroyed in the fire, which firefighters responded to at approximately 2:21 a.m., according to city spokesperson Connie Barron.
Fire department officials estimated $200,000 in damages.
A single female resident escaped the fire after waking to the smoke alarm, Barron said.
Nextdoor neighbors Charles and Barbara Polandick called 911 when the resident, who they said is named “Dawn,” knocked on their door for help.
“That house got engulfed so fast, I don’t know what happened,” Barbara said. “I was across the street and it looked like my house was on fire.”
Their house was not on fire, but the flames were so large they were blown by the wind from the roof of the flaming house over the Polandicks’ roof, only feet away.
The fire melted a water purifier and telephone box, as well as caused roof damage, Barbara said.
“That fire was too far gone to help anything,” Chuck said. “It was unbelievable. The fire department and police department should be commended highly. The city of Cape Coral should be very proud of these people.”
He said Dawn had been renting the home with another person for about six months prior to the fire, but only Dawn was in the home when it erupted in flames.
Chuck said he and his wife know the two only through brief interactions, however they are generally nice people.
It took 18 firefighters and six fire units about an hour to put out the fire. No other homes were damaged and no one was injured in the incident, Barron said.
“It’s the first fire in this whole community since it was built,” Chuck said.
The Polandicks have lived in the Emerald Cove gated community for six of the 13 years since it was established.
The Lee County American Red Cross is assisting the resident of the burned home by providing her with food, clothing, shoes and a place to stay at a local hotel, according to spokesperson Colin Downey.
“Our volunteers are trained to identify specific needs in each situation,” he said. “This is a pretty typical response by the Red Cross.”
Downey said for a family of four involved in a single-family structure fire, the Red Cross typically distributes about $1,000 to $1,500.
Residents can help the Lee County American Red Cross continue to support those in need in times of disaster by visiting: arclcc.org or by calling 278-3401.
Lawrence and Catherine Dluhos of North Fort Myers own the property. However, they rented it out through a management company so they do not know much about the renters, Catherine said Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re just working with the insurance company,” she said.
Catherine said she is glad no one got hurt as a result of the fire.
“That’s the important thing,” she said.
The cause of the fire has not yet been revealed.