Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
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Fire damage exceeds $600K

Damage costs from a fire that broke out at a marina restaurant Saturday on Duck Key is estimated at well over half a million dollars, Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief Jim Callahan said Monday.

"This was a major fire and I would estimate the losses to run $600,000 at least -- but probably more," Callahan said.

Firefighters from Conch Key, Marathon, Layton and Big Pine Key responded to the 8:15 a.m. fire at Tio's Cantina at Hawk's Cay Resort.

Conch Key crews were the first on scene -- within four minutes of the call -- but arrived to find the fire already through the restaurant roof, Callahan said.

Crews went to work containing the fire and keeping flames from reaching four, 500-pound propane canisters in the rear of the restaurant.

"That would have been a mess," the chief said. "But they kept it contained to the restaurant. No fishing boats in the marina caught fire and they kept the fire from nearby stores and the hotel."

Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies evacuated people in the nearby area while fire crews worked, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin.

Fire crews and investigators were on scene most of the day Saturday, dousing hot spots and investigating the origin. That investigation is ongoing, Callahan said.

Though arson has not been ruled out, Callahan said the fire appears to be accidental.

The point of origin appears to be in the kitchen, but that's all investigators were willing to say for sure on Monday, Callahan said.

The fire moved from the kitchen into a bar area, but the entire restaurant suffered smoke and water damage, he said.

One deputy was treated for smoke inhalation, as was a cook at the restaurant, and a firefighter suffered an injury to his eye while battling the blaze. All were treated and released from Fishermen's Hospital, Callahan said.

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