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Date of Issue: December 06, 2007

WMFR: Anna Maria duplex fire accidental

A nighttime fire in an Anna Maria duplex Nov. 16 was accidental, according to deputy fire marshal Kurt Lathrop.

Lathrop, an investigator for the West Manatee Fire Rescue District, said last Friday that the case is closed.

“It’s an accidental fire,” Lathrop said, adding that debris from the fireplace fell into an oven vent that was connected to the fireplace.

Lathrop estimated the damage at about $30,000-$40,000 and said the property had been released back to the owner for repairs.

WMFR firefighters, assisted by Longboat Key firefighters and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and emergency medical personnel, responded to the fire call at about 10 p.m. Nov. 16, a Saturday night.

Occupants of both apartments in the duplex in the 300 block of North Shore Drive fled the smoky building on the coldest night of the fall.

“We were laying on the floor in front of the fireplace and I noticed it was getting hot,” Jackie Logan said, adding that firefighters told her hot embers or ash from the fireplace probably ignited grease and other material in the oven vent under the floor.

“I couldn’t see five feet in front of me,” she said.

Logan, her two children, ages 6 months and 19 months, and her husband evacuated the apartment, turned off the electrical power to the building and called 911.

Last week, as Lathrop closed his investigation, Logan and her family moved to a new residence on Marina Drive.

In the weeks after the fire, the Logans stayed at Club Bamboo in Bradenton Beach.

The family had moved into the Anna Maria apartment from Bradenton in March, hoping to live by the beach for at least a year or so, Logan said.

Now they are living a few more blocks from the beach in Holmes Beach.