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2-alarm fire at St. Johns Town Center condos extinguished in 15 minutes

12:05 AM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A two-alarm fire Tuesday afternoon at a condo building under construction at the St. Johns Town Center was put out within 15 minutes of firefighters arriving, according to Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Tom Francis.

Samantha Church was having lunch on the patio at Brio Tuscan Grill when she heard what she said sounded like a car accident. She quickly realized it wasn't.

"We look over to our right and we see the entire top floor caught ablaze and we see a huge fire, and then we feel this huge vibration inside the restaurant. The restaurant closed off the doors and let all of us on the patio come inside and that's when the second explosion happened," said Church.

Construction activity on the fifth floor of the building involved the use of a heating element for foam insulation that was going underneath the flooring.

When the work was completed, workers left the scene. Investigators think smoldering ensued and resulted in explosions from propane tanks.

Sixty firefighters responded to the scene at 5000 Town. No one was injured, Francis said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 emergency communications center was inundated with hundreds of callers who were reporting the fire, according to JSO spokesperson Lauri-Ellen Smith.

This may have resulted in longer wait times than usual for callers calling into 9-1-1. JSO wants to thank those who called in to report the fire, Smith said.

Big Island Drive was blocked off for several hours before reopening.

According to an article in the Jacksonville Business Journal last year, construction was projected to cost about $18 million and about $138,000 dollars a condo.

The property is being developed by Bove LLC. We reached out to the company but our calls have not been returned.

It will be up to the State Fire Marshal to determine the exact cause of the blaze.

First Coast News

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