Radiant heat from the deep fryers at the Rod & Reel Pier restaurant that built up in the wall over a long period of time, caused the Sept. 30 fire that has closed the 66-year-old structure.
West Manatee Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Brett Pollock said the investigation into the fire at the pier, , 875 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, revealed the cause. The build-up of radiant heat over time eventually caused spontaneous combustion between the walls of the kitchen.
There was no evidence of negligence or malicious intent in connection with the fire, Pollock said.
Pollock said the origin of the fire was on the south side of the structure on the second floor inside the wall behind the fryers. Over a long period of time in a confined space, the radiant heat from the fryers led to the slow oxidation of a combustible material. At that point, spontaneous combustion inside the walls took place, he said.
“The fire’s unique circumstances did not release enough heat to activate the pier’s fire alarm or activation system,” Pollock said in a news release.
Finding the cause of the problem, however, won’t speed up the process to rebuild and reopen the long-standing pier, originally opened in 1947.
Pier manager Dave Cochran said insurance adjusters have begun the task of assessing damage and getting estimates for repair.
- Anna Maria building official Bob Welch said repair costs would have to conform to the 2010 building codes adopted by the city.