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Gulfport Hardware Owner Charged With Arson After Shop Burns Down

David Cretella is being held in jail without bond.

The owner of Gulfport Hardware faces arson charges in the burning of his own shop, 5006 Gulfport Boulevard South.

David Cretella, 64, of Seminole was booked into the Pinellas County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Cretella, was taken into custody by the Gulfport Police Department, in conjunction with the Division State Fire Marshalls Office Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation (BFAI). Cretella has owned Gulfport Hardware for about seven years.

At 8:23 p.m. Friday night, Gulfport police officers on patrol noticed heavy smoke and flames coming from the hardware store.  

Firefighters fought the blaze for several hours battling the fire and multiple explosions due to paint and chemicals that caught on fire and were being stored on the premises.  

Gulfport Boulevard was shut down until 3 a.m. until the fire was completely out.  Damages are estimated at $600,000.  

There were no reported injuries. The fire marshall's investigation revealed that there were two areas of origin for the fire. Given the timeline of the surveillance video and the rapid succession of the fire suggest that the fire was intentionally set.

BFAI examined the room of origin for accidental causes and could not reveal any accidental causes existed. Additional details of the investigation will not be revealed at this time.

Muzi Michaels October 20, 2012 at 06:06 AM
I loved the Hole in the Wall Hardware Store, so much nicer than the big box stores, this is a terrible story. This is an example of why we need to shop local folks! Help our neighbors.
Joyce Kwasiborski October 20, 2012 at 09:24 AM
Dave - I know only too well the lengths some people will go when faced with adversity. My prayers continue to go out to you. May you find some solace in the support you receive from the wonderful, kind and loyal people of Gulfport. We do not judge here. You are and will continue to be our friend and don't forget that!!!
Linda Craig October 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM
I agree Muzi... too sad for words. How desperate one has to be to threaten the lives and businesses around you. Times are hard. PRAYER...
Phil October 20, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I can't believe this happened, disappointed in these actions.
Matt Spencer October 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Just as I Suspected!! You Cannot Compete in The local Hardware Business anymore against the Big Box Stores like Lowes,Home Depot..ETC. But Burning Down your Store and Putting Everyones Lives at Risk is Not The Answer!! Could have Killed a Lot Of Innocent People!! Should have just got a Good Old Bailout from Obama!!
Philip Penrose October 20, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I don't feel sorry for him now! Think of all the emergency personnel he put in harms way by trying to collect on his insurance policy. (Yes, yes...innocent until proven guilty)
Philip Penrose October 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Another one who blames Obama for everything....give it a rest, please. It's tiresome. My business is good...is Obama the cause of that also?
Elizabeth Neily October 20, 2012 at 02:28 PM
We're saddened too by the loss of the local hardware store. Sometimes desperation makes people do crazy things, when there seems to be nowhere to turn. I have learned never to judge people, especially in this society where people seem to assume one is guilty until proven innocent. Too much TMZ style ugliness.
Rick McChesney October 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM
As a small business owner for 34 years I know all too well that running a small business can be a stressful thing. Stress can make a good person do CRAZY things. I feel so sorry for Dave and especially his employees How many people have driven right by this "Hole in The Wall" on their way to Home Depot. Lesson-#1 Support Small business and get personalized service like no where else. Support Gulfport's many small businesses and our Chamber of Commerce
Lynda October 20, 2012 at 04:53 PM
A very sad development to an already sad story. So fortunate no one was injured during the fire.
Kate finn October 20, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Disgusted that he allegedly put his neighbors, bystanders and FD at risk just for financial gain. Stay classy Gulfport!!!
Muzi Michaels October 20, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Matt and Kate -- judge not, lest ye be judged. We can't say what state of mind Dave was in and what despair led him down that path, if in fact that is what happened.
Potter Shaw October 20, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Many good comments and feelings; some not so nice....It is sad that some seem to welcome this as an opportunity to release their hatred.
Theresa Magaz October 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM
So shocked and sad.........and grateful no one was hurt including the first responders and our CERT team. Desperation, depression, and no hope is so dangerous. Makes people do things without thinking of the consequences. Particularly their loved ones.
Ken edwards October 21, 2012 at 02:38 AM
everyone speaks like he is guilty for sure.....he is too smart to set such an obvious fire i would think.
Joyce Kwasiborski October 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM
I'm assuming that all comments on the Gulfport Patch are written by Gulfport residents? If that's the case, I'm ashamed of those who wrote such hate filled comments about Dave and what he "allegedly" did. Have you never had your back against the wall with nowhere to turn? Have you ever given up hope? Do you people have any conscience at all? How dare you judge anyone? There are bad apples in every barrel. I refused to see Gulfport in any other light than the sweetest, most peaceful and loving community. Keep your chin up, Dave. We'll be behind you whatever happens!
Joyce Kwasiborski October 21, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Kudos, Potter!
Theresa Magaz October 21, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I think that we all know in this country that one is innocent until proven guilty.. that is one of the pillars in our nation. I believe that 99% of us here in our beloved town support Dave no matter what. Innocent or guilty, it is a tragic event.
Philip Penrose October 21, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Hi Theresa...I can't agree with you on this. If he is indeed guilty, why would I support him? No matter his state of mind - unless he was "insane" at the time - which I doubt very much, he was well aware of his actions and should take responsibility. Again, if he did this, he was thinking of himself and his situation....certainly not the possible costs to others financially and otherwise. Some emergency worker's family could have easily lost a family worker fighting his alleged act of arson. And, I'll bet few, if any posting 'forgiveness' in this forum have made any visits to jails or prisons to support other Gulfport residents or business owners that are incarcerated for their crimes. My 2 cents worth....keep the change...if any. :) PJP
Philip Penrose October 21, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I don't see any hatred in the comments....just simple discourse.
Andres Gonzalez October 22, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Mr. Penrose must be in the business of re-distribution, food stamps, welfare or possibly a bankruptcy attorney.
Mark M October 22, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Well... I work in that strip mall and was presently working when everything happened.. he put my life and others in danger.. I hope.he can live with that..no matter what issues he had..it was heartless and evil
Mark M October 22, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Potter.. Easy to say when your life or job wasn't at risk
Rob Fowler October 23, 2012 at 12:11 AM
It's a quantum leap to arrive at "heartless and evil" from "despondent and stupid." The former is a personality trait, the latter a state-of-mind. Either way, he'll be living with what he did, if he did it.
Philip Penrose October 23, 2012 at 12:34 AM
None of the above, Andres. Just a simple tech guy.
Rob Fowler October 23, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Theresa and I know Mr. Penrose has indeed distributed meals to the elderly with a sincere compassion. We also know the rates he charges for his kind, patient, and high quality home computer service is a form of welfare that is nearly pure charity. I don't know about any bankruptcy attorney services he may provide, but I suppose if I were looking at going bankrupt I may give him a call.
Muzi Michaels October 23, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Ditto what Rob said about Mr. Penrose. Let's just decide that we each have different feelings about what happened at the Gulfport Hardware store, some more compassionate and some more horrified. These are OUR FEELINGS and none of us can dare know what Dave's feelings were, if in fact he had anything to do with it.
Philip Penrose October 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Thank you Rob and Muzi for your kind words. I do have little patience for those who use any forum they can find online and turn the subject matter into a politcal "discussion". And I agree with Muzi - we all have different ideas about all events....and that is what forums are all about...discussion. OK - I'm done here...this forum has run its course. ;) Not a record-breaker like the ban-on-beach-smoking forum of months back.
Michael Knettel Sr October 23, 2012 at 08:28 PM
It's a sad state of affairs when we all thought that the stores owner was a victim of such a bad fire; then we all find that he is the cause of it. Lives were put at risk. The brave fire fighters that put their lives on the line every day to help save our lives and property were subjected to this same danger at the hands of the store's owner. If business was that bad just close the doors and the community would have embraced him for at least trying. I for one am upset that he caused so much damage to a building that wasn't his and put the lives and property of so many in harms way. I just wish Dave could have picked a better way. I feel sorry for on one hand and deeply upset on the other.
Willie Wackit October 24, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Republicans started out with a solid economy, a surplus, that Clinton, a Democrat had when he left office. Retarded George Bush started a stupid war, Cheney sold most all of the war stuff from his company Haliburton.... ran the economy into the ground and in the last 4 months did absolutely nothing...then handed it to the current prez. Most of the people that dont understand how deep Republicans are in the pocket of big business then gave the congress back to the Republicans that did nothing more than fight each other. People that dont understand how we got to this economic point are the problem...Romney is the problem if you look pass Fox Spews...into the way he made his money, you would think he worked for China and several other off shore countries. No matter, we are now in deep doo doo and no prez will change it but slightly for then next 10 years...Get used to 2nd world economics its here to stay.

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