Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 More Eagle Harbor Fires Set; First Involving Private Property

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 More Eagle Harbor Fires Set; First Involving Private Property

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracy Spengler, Clay County Line correspondent

An Eagle Harbor resident woke to the sound of banging on his front door and to the sight of his 1997 Ford F-150 truck in flames. Just one street over, another resident woke to the sight of her backyard swing set smoldering just feet from her home.

At approximately 4:30 a.m. Thursday, firefighters arrived on the scenes of two fires (a third fire was set to firewood in back of another resident's home), making this nine blazes set within the community since Jan. 22.

"Up until now, all the fires had been set specifically to Eagle Harbor property," said Clay County Sheriff's detective Robby Stephens. "This time, personal property was damaged."

Damage was minimal, except a few thousand dollars in damage done to the truck.

Previous community fires include two Dumpster fires, a half-acre brush fire in Forest Park, a maintenance building fire, a fire set to a maintenance truck and a blaze set to the community's 35-foot pontoon boat on Jan. 29. These blazes are still under investigation, officials said.

"At this time, we have no physical evidence to link these fires with the others," Stephens said. "But we're not ruling out the possibility that they could be related."

Terry Lane, whose truck was set ablaze, said he was thankful a sheriff's officer had been patroling the neighborhood.

"I woke up to [the officer] banging on my door," Lane said. "When I answered the door, there was my truck, on fire. The officer had seen flames and was putting the fire out himself with the extinguisher he had in his car. My son's truck was parked right next to mine, and it would have gone up in flames as well. I'm very grateful no more damage was done."

Christine Phillips was equally grateful that more destruction had not occurred. …

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