Abandoned building fire under investigation; brush fire apparently started from a pile of burning leaves

OKEECHOBEE — A structure fire was reported on Saturday evening in an abandoned building.

According to an Okeechobee County Fire Rescue (OCFR) report, at 6:09 p.m. on May 12, a structure fire was reported in the 1800 block of Northeast 48th Avenue.

Okeechobee County Fire Rescue crews responded to a structure fire in the 1800 block of Northeast 48th Avenue in the evening on Saturday. The building was abandoned and apparently had no power to it, as it had caught fire eight months earlier. Special to the Okeechobee News.

Upon arrival units found Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office deputies on scene of the single-family, one-story abandoned building. The home was fully engulfed with flames showing on all sides. Two 1-3/4 inch preconnect lines were pulled while an assessment was made on how to begin the exterior defensive attack.

Once the fire was extinguished all crews on scene loaded all equipment used back on the responding vehicles. Pike poles, air packs, thermal image camera, roof ladder, generator light, a chain saw and approximately 15,000 gallons of water were used during the fire’s extinguishment.

Because building was the scene of another fire approximately eight months earlier and because there was no power to the building when the second fire occurred, the Florida State Fire Marshal’s office was notified. The scene was turned over to Florida State Fire Marshal Detective Anthony Mozealous, who responded to the scene to investigate.

The total estimated property contents and financial loss of $20,000 was assessed. The cause of the fire was undetermined at the time of the report. Two engines, one tanker, one rescue, Captain Ryan Hathaway, Deputy Chief Earl Wooten and Chief Ralph Franklin of OCFR responded to the incident scene.

Homeowner and water hose not enough to stop brush fire

OKEECHOBEE — A brush fire reported Saturday afternoon apparently started from a pile of burning leaves.

According to a report from Okeechobee County Fire Rescue, at 2:17 p.m. on May 12, firefighters responded to a reported brush fire in the 3200 block of Southeast 34th Avenue.

Upon arrival, units found a tree and surrounding brush on fire and extremely close to a structure. Additional units were called in for assistance, with a tanker being needed for water supply. Crews began extinguishing the fire and contained it quickly before it made contact with any dwellings.

After the fire was extinguished and all hot spots were cooled down, it was discovered that the origin of the fire was from a small leaf pile burning in the yard. The fire was being watched, as it was small and the homeowner was prepared with a water hose, but it did not meet the required setbacks.

Residential and agricultural/silvicultural pile burning must be set back 300 feet or more away from any occupied building other than that of the landowner, and 50 feet from any wildlands, brush or combustible structure. Non-residential pile burning without an air curtain incinerator must be set back 1,000 feet or more away from any occupied building and 100 feet from any wildlands, brush or combustible structure.

The report continued that the homeowner was informed of the situation and all of the residents were made aware to keep watch over the area and to call 911 immediately if further assistance was necessary.

A brush truck, one engine and one tanker responded to the incident scene.


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