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Date of Issue: May 06, 2009

Cortez RV fire injures 1, damages 4 RVs, boat

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A fire at Lightner Motors in Cortez April 26 injured one man, destroyed a recreational vehicle and boat and damaged three other RVs. The man was not seriously hurt. Islander Photo: Courtesy John Lightner

An early afternoon fire April 26 injured one man, destroyed the recreational vehicle he was working on and an adjacent boat, as well as damaging three other RVs.

“Thankfully no one was severely hurt,” said business owner John Lightner.

He said the fire at the storage lot at Lightner Motors, in the 8700 block of Cortez Road, was apparently caused by the son of the RV owner.

As Lightner described it: “A motor home stored at the lot erupted into flames” after a man attempted to start the engine.

The man made it out of the motor home with only a small burn on his hand, but neighboring vehicles were scorched.

“To the east of the motor home was a boat that also went up in flames. Three other units were damaged,” Lightner said, “but not severely.

“The RV, which was parked there by the owner in 2008, was rarely taken from the premises. When the owner’s father could not get it started, he apparently attempted to add fuel to the carburetor system in hopes of starting it easier. The engine backfired, sparked and started the flames that consumed both it and the boat beside it. Bystanders said the heat could be felt from 150 feet away.”

Lightner said the rental contract signed by the RV’s owner states “any maintenance is to be carried out off of the premises and anyone other than the owner must show identification and the owner must contact Lightner Motors before anyone else enters the storage lot on their behalf.”

Both of these stipulations were apparently ignored by the renter.

West Manatee Fire Rescue firefighters doused the flames before the fire could spread to nearby fuel tanks.