|Published:||Sep 28, 2010 10:49 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 28, 2010 7:44 PM EDT|
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - A massive fire consumed parts of a storage facility in Port Charlotte.
Crews battled the quickly-spreading flames at Storage America on Capricorn Blvd. Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Fire fighters were on the scene Tuesday monitoring hot-spots and trying to figure out what sparked the blaze, but for customers with charred units, finding out the cause won't bring back what they lost.
" I lost everything," says renter James Kuper. "Furniture, clothes, sentimental things, pictures."
Kuper's belongings are burned, along with the property contained in at least 80 other storage units.
"We moved down here from Connecticut on Memorial Day," says Kuper. "I have all our home belongings that were still stored in the facility".
Some units went untouched by the flames thanks to a firewall separating the buildings.
"The firewall is reinforced with fire-rated coating," said Dale Reisen with the Lee County Fire Arson Task Force. "It will stop the fire right there and that's exactly what it did. It did it's job."
Even with that type of protection in place, the fire spread quickly.
It took more than 80 firefighters from several different agencies about eight hours to get the blaze under control.
Five firefighters had to be treated for heat exhaustion.
"Being a steel building with everything enclosed, things got a lot of heat," says Battalion Chief Larry Lippel. "They were transported more so for precaution."
A lot of renters don't have insurance, but Kuper says he can't put a dollar figure on his memories.
"I haven't even sat down to think about that. It's gone. That's not going to bring it back. We'll have to move on."
Crews were able to pin-point where the fire started, but they have not determined whether the cause is suspicious or accidental.
The damage is said to be worth at least $800,000, and that's not including the value of what was inside each unit.
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