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Swim lessons, camps, to continue at Sun Splash despite fire

By Staff | Jul 7, 2016

Swim lessons and camps at Sun Splash Family Waterpark will continue as scheduled as city staffers work toward reopening the park following a structure fire that occurred Wednesday morning.

At about 1 a.m., Cape Coral police and fire responded to a call about a tree on fire in the area of the park, at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd. Upon arrival, crews found that the main building, located at the front of the park, was engulfed. Fire officials reported that there were flames 10 feet to 15 feet into the air.

“It took firefighters almost two hours to extinguish the fire, and mop up and mitigation of hot spots continued until late morning,” Andrea Schuch, spokeswoman for the Cape fire department, said.

Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to any other structures. On-site chemicals like chlorine used at the park were stored elsewhere, so the risk of a hazardous material incident was minimized.

The CCFD Fire Marshal and State Fire Marshal responded to the scene.

“With the high humidity and oppressive temperatures, even at such early morning hours, I am proud of the work our firefighters did to keep themselves safe and prevent heat exhaustion while working to extinguish the fire and keep the rest of the park secure,” Fire Chief Donald Cochran said in a statement.

On Thursday, city officials announced that the park will remain closed through the weekend.

“While the city works to restore operations and reopen the park,” spokeswoman Connie Barron said.

However, swim lessons scheduled for today at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. will be conducted, as well as swim camps scheduled to begin on Monday. Program participants should enter through the side gate.

“City staff continues to work to secure the site, acquire the necessary temporary facilities to place onsite and bring the computer software system back online,” she said, adding that completing these measures will enable the park to resume operation through the remainder of the scheduled season.

Officials will review the progress today; a timeframe for reopening may be determined.

According to Schuch, the fire was determined to be accidental and the origin appears to have been in and around the area of a golf cart, which was housed under a canopy attached to the building.

State officials confirmed the findings.

“The State Fire Marshal’s Office has deemed this fire, at this time, to be accidental in nature,” Jon Moore, with the Florida Department of Financial Services, said. “We have no reason to suspect that this fire was intentionally set. We haven’t recovered any evidence suggesting the use of an accelerant.”

State investigators have not yet determined the exact cause.

“We have submitted lab samples to be tested in our testing facility in an effort to help determine the exact cause of the fire,” Moore said on Thursday. “Our investigation is still active and ongoing.”

The building, which housed the restaurant, gift shop and guest services, was a total loss.

“Damages are estimated at around $700,000,” Schuch said.

As of Thursday, city officials intended to rebuild.

“We will rebuild the facilities, probably when season ends,” Barron said.