St. Petersburg Times

Buffet's blaze on roof doused
Malfunctioning lights likely sparked the fire next to one of Brooksville's oldest buildings, the fire chief says.
By Times Staff Writer
Published May 5, 2005

BROOKSVILLE - The noontime heat at Morrison's Country Buffet wasn't just coming from the kitchen.

As patrons sat down for lunch at the Brooksville restaurant shortly after noon Wednesday, smoke billowed through the building, causing managers to evacuate the restaurant before firefighters doused the flames on the roof.

The small electrical fire, likely sparked by malfunctioning fluorescent lights, caused minor smoke damage and temporarily disrupted the business, Brooksville fire Chief James Daugherty said.

The Brooksville Fire Department responded to the call about 12:05 p.m. and quickly doused the fire, which was confined to the front of the restaurant's roof.

Morrison's is at 11 S Broad St., next door to the Ye Olde Fireside Inn, one of Brooksville's oldest buildings.

Ye Olde Fireside Inn was damaged in December when a blaze ripped through the top floor. Fire officials said the accidental blaze originated in an air-conditioning unit.

Morrison's has been open for three months. Before that, the building housed Pier 688, a seafood eatery.

Daugherty said Wednesday's blaze started after the fluorescent lights shorted out for an unknown reason. "We don't know if it was a lightning strike or something else that caused this," he said.

[Last modified May 5, 2005, 11:50:17]