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St. Petersburg Fla--Multi-Alarm Apartment Fire

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  • captstanm1
    Follow up

    Tampa Tribune

    Firefighters Extinguish Blaze At Complex

    Published: Aug 4, 2003

    ST. PETERSBURG - Firefighters temporarily evacuated residents of 72 apartments at Carlton Towers on Sunday after a fire started in one of the units before it was quickly extinguished.
    No one was hurt in the 12:05 p.m. blaze at the 10-story downtown building at 470 Third St. S., said Lt. Rick Feinberg, a spokesman for St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue.

    The fire was caused by a smoldering cigarette in a couch in a second-floor apartment whose occupant was not home, Feinberg said.

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  • captstanm1
    started a topic St. Petersburg Fla--Multi-Alarm Apartment Fire

    St. Petersburg Fla--Multi-Alarm Apartment Fire

    No one injured by fire at Carlton Towers
    Residents usually ignore fire alarms, but they paid attention after some saw and smelled smoke.
    By MICHAEL SANDLER, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 4, 2003

    ST. PETERSBURG - Tenants at the Carlton Towers apartments had grown so accustomed to false alarms, many were ready to disregard the one Sunday afternoon.

    But this one was real.

    Residents' nonchalance faded quickly when a few saw and smelled the smoke rising from a burning couch on the balcony of a second-floor apartment.

    Neighbors ran through the halls, knocking on doors and helping everyone to safety.

    No one was injured by the small fire, but it badly damaged a screened-in balcony and part of the apartment, St. Petersburg fire officials said.

    Fear of a massive fire in the 10-story high-rise at 470 Third St. S was enough for fire officials to summon extra firefighters and equipment and shut down a few city blocks for an hour.

    "We don't want to be short of people, water or other resources," said Rick Feinberg, spokesman for St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.

    Firefighters acted quickly, snaking hoses up from trucks in the parking lot and through the hallway. Within minutes, they had suppressed the fire.

    Feinberg said firefighters found a burning couch on the balcony. Investigators continued to examine the apartment, he said.

    A few dozen residents awaited the all-clear signal that came about 30 minutes after the fire alarm first sounded.

    "I heard the alarm and didn't see anything," said Joe Walsh, who lives on the eighth floor and was reading and watching television when the alarm first sounded about 12:05 p.m.

    He might have sat through it had he not heard neighbor Scott Schoenherr rapping at the door.

    "We have false fire alarms all the time," Schoenherr said.

    He also considered ignoring the siren, but changed his mind after he saw the smoke outside his window.

    Walsh and Schoenherr are among the few remaining tenants preparing to relocate before Carlton Towers becomes the Beacon on Third Street.

    John H. Marling, an Orlando developer, has plans to convert the 183 apartments in the Y-shaped building to for-sale residences.

    He said 90 of the apartments are rented and 22 of the tenants will continue renting after the conversion.

    He plans to invest $4-million for renovations on the building, which was built by apartment developer Thomas Mahaffey Jr. in 1963.

    Marling said one of his employees went through the building with fire inspectors Sunday and found limited damage beyond knocked down doors and water. The reinforced concrete structure withstood the heat, he said.

    "For us, I don't think it's much of a blip on the radar screen," Marling said.

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