Fire closes six Heritage Court shops

Short circuit causes half-million dollars in damage

By RYAN HIRAKI, [email protected]
Published by on October 10, 2003

An electrical box short-circuited late Thursday in a Naples sporting goods store, burning the business and causing more than a half-million dollars in damage in the Heritage Court shopping plaza.

North Naples Fire Marshal Karl Reynolds said firefighters responded to a call at 11:06 p.m. at the Play It Again Sports off U.S. 41 just south of Pine Ridge Road.

No one was injured.

“They got it under control pretty quick, within 15 minutes,” Reynolds said.

But the fire destroyed the sporting goods store and caused enough smoke and water damage to force the temporary closing of five neighboring businesses — Cher’s Hair Spa Inc., New Image Facials, Argon Associates, First American Title Insurance and the dental practice owned by Dr. Norma Ferrer and Dr. Leigh Meyer.

Reynolds said the fire was accidental and that insurance will pay for the damages, what he estimated to be at $550,000.

Three of the businesses may be open by Tuesday.

First American Title may not reopen for another four to six weeks, said Michael Godfrey, project manager with Fireservice Inc., the company that was cleaning the charred and smoke-tainted plaza.

“The fire walls did their job. You can’t do anything about the smoke, though,” he said.

Reynolds said the fire started in one of the main electrical outlet boxes under the front counter of the store.

The computers, monitors and receipt machines were kept there, Reynolds said.

As for Play It Again’s neighbors, Norma Klinger, owner of New Image Facials, said the fire department’s quick response helped minimize the damage at her business.

“As soon as they got it under control, they opened all the doors and left it open all night,” she said.

Only a trace of the smoky smell lingered in her unit.

Like Godfrey, Reynolds attributed the lack of fire damage to the fire walls.

“When they’re up, and they haven’t been tampered with, they work,” he said.