A Davie, Florida fire broke out at approximately 5:20 a.m. on Thursday in an apartment located in the 3666 59th Terrace, sources indicate. Authorities reportedly believe that the blaze was set intentionally, and one person is already being investigated in connection with the fire. No charges have yet been filed. It is not clear whether the person who is being investigated, who may face arson charges, has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
According to the police report, fire fighters responded to a call regarding the fire to find two residents of the home, unhurt, already outside. They rescued another 25-year-old man from the second story of the unit. It is not clear how the three residents of the apartment know each other.
The man who was rescued was taken to Westside Regional Medical Center for treatment for smoke inhalation. Reports indicate that he was not burned. It is not clear when he was released from the hospital.
Authorities estimate that the fire caused around $100,000 in damage at the home. The potential suspect went into questioning voluntarily. Police have not said what a possible motive for the crime is or how it was started, and the case remains under investigation.
Arson cases are not uncommon in Florida. Just a few weeks ago, 26-year-old Sara Barnes of Winter Park, FL was arrested in connection to a January 16 blaze that burned down “The Senator,” a 3,500-year-old, 125-foot tall bald cypress tree that was growing in Big Tree Park in Longwood, FL. The Senator was the fifth oldest tree in the world, and its’ loss made national headlines. Residents of the area have also expressed sorrow at losing the tree, which was a local landmark.
The blaze was started at approximately 5:45 a.m. on January 16. The Senator burned for over three hours from within its’ hollow interior before collapsing into itself, despite the efforts of over a dozen firefighters and 800 feet of fire hose.
Police were not sure where the fire had come from at first, and suspected that lightning may have set it off. However, Barnes revealed herself unintentionally when she told a few friends that she was responsible for the blaze. Barnes allegedly bragged to her friends following the incident, saying “I can’t believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus” and showing them photos she snapped using her cell phone.
Barnes was apparently addicted to methamphetamine and often came to the park at night to get high. She told friends that he had lit a small fire so that she could see in the darkness. The fire, she told pals, got out of control and caught nearby brush on fire, eventually spreading to where the historic tree stood.
Someone who heard the story contacted police, who obtained a warrant to search Barnes’ residence. Inside, they found photos of the fire saved on Barnes’ cell phone and laptop computer, as well as items related to the preparation and use of methamphetamine. Barnes has been charged with malicious burning of land, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. It is not clear whether she has a criminal defense attorney.