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Cape Coral Fla--Fire Destroys Condo Parking Facility

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    Arson Investigators Seeking Information

    Arson investigators seeking witnesses

    Cape fire set to cover up burglary, detective says

    By CHARLES RUNNELLS, [email protected]

    Fire investigators are stumped by an arson that destroyed a five-car garage Monday. Now, they hope witnesses can shed light on who started the blaze.

    The fire at Seabreeze condos probably was ignited to cover up a burglary, said Joe Minervini, a detective with the state fire marshal’s office.

    “Arsons like this happen all the time,” Minervini said. “They’re a crime of concealment.”

    A steering wheel was missing from a Jeep Grand Cherokee in the garage, and the driver’s side door was found open. Minervini wouldn’t discuss other details in the suspected burglary, saying that could hinder his investigation.

    No witnesses have stepped forward, Minervini said. He hopes some people will be enticed by the $2,500 reward and call the fire marshal’s office at 461-4004.

    The fire was started with gasoline or some other flammable liquid, Minervini said. Lab results confirming the type of liquid could take several weeks.

    Firefighters evacuated the two-story Seabreeze condos, 1333 S.E. 40th Terrace, at about 1:30 a.m. The fire was contained to the garage.

    Many residents slept through the beginning of the fire and several small explosions. Firefighters, police and at least one neighbor ended up knocking on doors to rouse them.

    About 10 people were evacuated, said Tom Tomich, operations chief of the Cape fire department.

    Frank Bloise, who lives across the street, said he was making a sandwich when he heard an explosion. He looked outside to see three-story-high flames shooting from the garage.

    Bloise, 35, said he ran across the street and pounded on doors, and he got four people out before the fire became too intense.

    “I just didn’t want anybody to get hurt,” he said.

    Resident Adell Moherek, 78, said she was watching “G.I. Jane” when she heard an explosion. She thought her neighbors were lighting fireworks.

    Tomich said the multiple explosions likely were gas tanks or tires reacting to the heat.

    Moherek looked through her front window to see Bloise — wearing shorts, flip-flops and no shirt — running toward her. He started banging on her door.

    “I couldn’t even see the fire,” she said. “I opened the door, and he grabbed my arm and said, ‘You better get out of here.’ ”

    Moherek smiled. “Frank’s our hero.”

    The fire caused about $150,000 in damage, Tomich said.

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  • Cape Coral Fla--Fire Destroys Condo Parking Facility


    Fire destroys condo parking garage

    Singed palm trees, peeling paint and melted metal is all that is left of a parking garage at the Sea Breeze Condominiums after flames ripped through the structure early Monday morning, leaving many residents in awe of the damage just outside their windows.

    According to Tom Tomich, operations chief with the Cape Coral Fire Department, a call came in shortly after 1 a.m. pertaining to a massive fire and several explosions in a detached garage.

    Arriving in full force, firefighters were met with a fully engulfed structure with fire that was spreading rapidly, heating up the condominium’s exterior walls, shattering windows and burning shrubbery.

    “The flames were in such an intensity that it was infringing on the building,” said Tomich.

    Located at 1333 SE 40th Terr., the garages and their contents, including three vehicles, were burned beyond recognition.

    “The flames spread to the condo itself causing collateral damage to its windows, paint and concrete,” said Tomich.

    For more on this local story by Deanne Galko, see the July 29 issue of The Breeze.

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