Fire Damages Belleair Home
By Carl Wagenfohr
BELLEAIR - A fire started accidentally by a gas grill last Saturday at about 5pm damaged the home at 155 Bayview Drive, owned by Thomas and Constance Whiddon. Damage was extensive according to Largo Fire/Rescue Chief Mile Wallace.
According to 911 records, the emergency call was received at 5:07:07 PM from the homeowner. Emergency response vehicles were dispatched 20 seconds later via radio, pagers, and mobile data terminals.
An entire complement of fire suppression vehicles were dispatched, including 3 fire engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 squad unit (fire suppression support vehicle) and 1 EMS/Fire unit. A total of 19 firefighters, officers and command staff comprised the initial response.
The first arriving fire suppression unit reached the front of the house 8 minutes 6 seconds after being dispatched. A command officer arrived on scene at the same time. An initial fire attack crew was established and assigned by the commanding officer 1 minute 7 seconds later. The initial assessment by the command officer was "Heavy fire between roof and garage."
Due to the size of the structure and the level of involvement in fire, a second alarm was declared 2 minutes and 27 seconds after arrival of the command officer. This was done to ensure adequate staffing, equipment and relief for the involved firefighting crews.
The fire suppression line was deployed and ready at the front door prepared for entry 4 minutes and 49 seconds after the first fire suppression unit arrived on scene. The fire was attacked with this hose line 27 seconds later.
Largo received assistance from the Clearwater, Pinellas Suncoast, Seminole and Dunedin Fire/Rescue departments. A total of 68 fire suppression personnel were involved in combating the blaze.
While the extent of the damage has not yet been determined by the State Fire Marshall, Chief Wallace estimated the damage from fire, water and smoke at about 40-to-50 percent of the residence. The home has a Just/Market value of $917,871 according to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's database.
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