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Suspicious Fire is the Sixth This Year

Investigators say a teenage girl saw the flames Saturday night but didn't call for help. Officials are thankful the fire "burned itself out."

The Gulfport Police Department and Gulfport Fire Department are investigating the sixth suspicious palm tree/brush fire reported in the city this year.

The latest fire started about 11:30 p.m. Saturday in an alley just south of 28th Avenue South and east of 54th Street South.

Investigators say a teenage girl living northwest of the fire said she saw flames in the alley but didn't think to call police because she thought it was a bonfire.

Gulfport Police found the burned tree, fence and cable and Internet wires this morning. They think the fire "burned itself out" and consider the homes near the alley lucky that the flames didn't spread. 

Sgt. Robert Burkhart says the case fits the description of several palm tree fires this year. It occurred at night in or near an alley.

April 18

June 7

  • A witness saw someone running from a palm tree fire on a vacant lot at 5704 28th Ave. S.

June 15

All of the cases are under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Gulfport Police Department's non-emergency line at 727-893-1030.

Cherlene Willis August 12, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Update: Just talked to the Fire Chief who says the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department will analyze "a little bit of evidence" collected from the scene. Marenkovic stresses to everyone that if they see flames, call 9-1-1. "Even if you think it's somebody burning leaves, there's no open burning in the city."

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