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Mystery blazes occupy firefighters

By Times Staff Writer
Published April 30, 2005

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Law enforcement and fire officials are investigating three fires that occurred early Friday.

About 3:30 a.m., the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue station received calls about a home on fire at Third Avenue and First Street, just across the street from the fire station, said Chief John Leahy Jr. The station is at 304 First St.

Leahy said eight units were on the scene of that two-alarm fire when the station got calls about another one at Holiday Inn Harbourside, 401 Second St., nearly an hour later.

"The sprinkler system put it out immediately," he said. "If it hadn't, we probably would have lost the roof of the hotel completely."

The guests staying at the 164-room hotel were evacuated and no one was injured, fire officials said. Some of the hotel guests were attending a retired firefighters' convention, Leahy said.

About 11:35 a.m., a man walked into the fire station and reported the third blaze, Leahy said. The house at 303 First St. is directly across the street from the fire station, he said. Fire officials found evidence of a fire and a break-in.

All three cases were referred to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for review, Leahy said. It wasn't known how the fires were started Friday afternoon.

Anyone with information on the fires can call the fire and rescue district at (727) 595-1117 or sheriff's Sgt. Dale Romeo at (727) 582-6200.

[Last modified April 30, 2005, 00:50:14]

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