Sarasota County fire officials are investigating what caused a fire at an auto body repair shop in Venice, FL, on December 7 that caused extensive damage to the building, sent smoke through adjacent neighborhoods and disrupted traffic during the morning commute. No one was injured in the fire.
The fire was in an industrial park on James Street, east of the U.S. 41 Bypass. Twenty firefighting units from Venice, Sarasota County and Nokomis responded.
Firefighters arrived at 7:03 a.m. to see smoke coming from the building. First responders were on the scene within seven minutes. At least 45 firefighters started a defensive attack from the outside of the auto body and cabinet shops.
Within minutes the building was fully involved, according to county fire officials. Battalion chief Glenn Snyder said the fire was out within 90 minutes.
Fire officials said there was a woodworking shop in the rear, and an auto body shop in front. Many of the vehicles in the repair shop's parking area, some with for sale signs on them, suffered damage in the fire.
Traffic was re-routed around the area for the majority of the morning.
The assistant chief says they did not have to worry about search and rescue because of the time of day.
“The main concern of the incident commander was to first confine the fire to make sure it did not spread to the adjacent buildings and to actually locate the seed of the fire, and then begin the extinguishment,” the assistant chief said.
No one was injured. There is no estimation of the damages to the two buildings at this time, but they appear to be destroyed.
The State Fire Marshal will continue with the investigation.