North Port brush fire ‘suspicious’

North Port brush fire ‘suspicious’

30 May 2007

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North Port, USA — Authorities are calling a brush fire “suspicious”that charred 130 acres Friday night and forced dozens of residents to flee theirhomes.

“We would love to nab him,” Patrick Mahoney, a spokesman for theDivision of Forestry, said about finding the person who ignited the blaze.

Mahoney did not say if there were any leads. Nor did he say how the fire started.

The fire was 100 percent contained by Tuesday, but forestry officials were stilltending to hot spots.

The fire broke out on Yorkshire Street about 5 p.m. and quickly spread to aneighborhood just east of Atwater Drive, threatening 50 homes.

No homes or other structures were damaged. But the flames were close enough tohomes that police went door-to-door on several blocks telling residents to leave.They were allowed to return about 3 a.m. Saturday.

Wind and numerous overgrown lots in the area helped fuel the fire.

Firefighters from several cities and counties helped North Port crews battle theblaze.

North Port Fire Marshal Michael Frantz said because so many of the city’s homesare separated by overgrown undeveloped lots, it takes additional crews andapparatus to achieve the protection needed during a fire like Friday’s.

Another brush fire that scorched about 50 acres last week several miles away ina neighborhood on the city’s west side is also believed to be man-made but notnecessarily suspicious in nature, Mahoney said. Residents near Ponce de LeonBoulevard were evacuated while crews there worked to save homes. Only a boat anda trampoline were destroyed.

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