Man dead after ‘suspicious’ fire at 7-Eleven in Punta Gorda

Published: Updated:

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Punta Gorda police are investigating a deadly fire that broke out at a 7-Eleven, near Bal Harbor Boulevard and Aqui Esta Drive, early Sunday morning.

Families in the neighborhood say they have more questions than answers after the fatal fire.

“I look out and obviously the tape was all over the place and police are here so I’m really wondering what’s happening,” said Jerry Wichert.

Around 3:30 a.m., police responded to the convenience store on a report that a man was on fire. A passerby and an employee on their way in both called 911.

Police say there was an active fire inside the building when they arrived. The Punta Gorda Fire Department was able to extinguish the blaze, that’s when firefighters discovered the body of 18-year-old Kyle Farishian, who was working at the time.

Residents who were regular customers say it’s hitting them hard.

“We know the employees, most of the employees because we’re in there often and we’re really sad that this could happen,” said Wichert.

Families in this area are especially concerned as investigators call the fire “suspicious.”

“It’s not safe anywhere I guess. If there was foul-play involved. It’s not safe anywhere, even in the quietest of neighborhoods,” said Wichert.

“It’s just very tragic for the person and the community,” said Judy Podhorn.

While the caused of both the fire and Farishian’s death remain under investigation, Punta Gorda Police Chief Thomas Lewis says this is an isolated incident.

“We are positive that no one else in the community is in danger,” said Chief Lewis. “They’re all completely safe and we’re just actively working the case.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.