Fire Destroys Bayshore Boulevard Business
Officials investigate the cause of the blaze through the night.
Della Roberts' eyes welled when she recounted the items she lost in a fire at a Dunedin consignment shop Wednesday.
She sold homemade chalkboards, refurbished antique furniture (coastal-shabby-chic) at a booth inside the Knot On Main Street consignment shop for more than three years. Roberts had no insurance for her inventory.
“This is my daughter’s dance money,” Roberts said. "She's 12 and she dances."
All that remains of the single story structure, which housed about 50 vendors like Roberts on Bayshore Boulevard, is a cinged shell of the former eclectic treasure trove of antiques, furniture and collectibles.
Crews responded to the fire at Knot On Main Street, 2424-28 Bayshore Blvd., shortly before 4 p.m. The cause is still under investigation.
A dark smoke plume could be seen from all over Dunedin.
“Smoke was coming from the eaves,” said Patrick Rice, owner of Dunedin Fishing Center. He ran outside when a neighboring business owner alerted him to the fire.
Bayshore Boulevard was closed to traffic for about three hours while firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze inside the 12,368 square foot building.
Bob O’Connell bought the nearly 55-year-old property for $380,000 in December 2002. It is valued at $454,500, according to Pinellas County Property Appraiser records.
O'Connell was working next door at Dunedin Auto Sales, which he also owns. He was at the scene when firefighters arrived and remained through the evening, but declined comment. "We have enough to worry about right now," he said.
"He appeared visibly upset," Dunedin Fire Chief Erich Thiemann said.
Investigators from the Dunedin Fire Department, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal are working through the night to determine the cause and origin, Thiemann said. “It may be a long night and a long day tomorrow to continue the investigation,” he said.
Some neighbors believe a problematic air conditioner may be to blame.
“The air handling units fell through [the ceiling],” Thiemann said, but a cause cannot yet be determined.
Adjoining building owner Anna Sweetnam said that her tenant at collectibles shop Find Your Peace, next door to Knot On Main Street, received some carbon monoxide damage and broken glass doors. None of the other businesses in her building were damaged and the owners were readmitted into their shops around 8 p.m.
Fire officials expect them all — Find Your Peace, Classic Grooming and Dunedin Fishing Center — to reopen for business without any problems.
All lanes were reopened to traffic at around 8:20 p.m.
No major injuries were reported.