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Date of Issue: July 27, 2005

Fire destroys Anna Maria home

Fire on Anna Maria
High heat and fire
An emergency medical technician applies some wet towels to the neck of a firefighter while other firefighters battle the blaze at 764 Jacaranda St. in Anna Maria Monday morning. No one was injured in the fire. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
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Fire on Anna Maria2
Devastating loss
An upset Joan Zak of 764 Jacaranda St. in Anna Maria talks with husband Bob Dancey across the street from their residence after a Monday morning fire destroyed the home they had lived in since 1992. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
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A house fire Monday morning in Anna Maria totally destroyed a residence at 764 Jacaranda Street and caused smoke damage to three adjacent structures. It was the second time in the past six weeks that a fire has devastated a house in the city.

Kurt Lathrop of West Manatee Fire and Rescue said the initial investigation has not yet turned up the cause of the blaze, but it appears to have started in a storage room on the ground floor of the two-story over parking house.

"At this point, the cause is undetermined, but we are still investigating," Lathrop said.

According to owner Joan Zak, she was across the street at a neighbor's house, while her husband, Bob Dancey, had driven to a nearby store when the fire broke out. Zak saw the blaze and tried to put it out with water but was unsuccessful. She called the fire department and WMFR units arrived within minutes, Lathrop said, but the fire had spread quickly.

"The house appears to be a total loss," said Lathrop, noting that the wood-frame house was built according to flood-plain requirements established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. No one was injured in the blaze, but Lathrop put the initial damage estimate at more than $300,000, not counting personal property and a car that was also destroyed.

Zak was devastated by the loss. All her personal possession were inside the house, including her purse and two cats.

"I didn't get anything out," she said. She and her husband planned to spend the night with friends, but she did not know what their next step will be. The house was insured, she said.

In early June, fire completely destroyed a residence on Sycamore Street that had been built in the 1920s. In that incident, the house was under-insured and the structure was a total loss.