Early morning fire destroys Fort Myers business

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

It took hours to put out a huge fire that destroyed a south Fort Myers business early Thursday.

The fire happened at Cable Company of America, along Amedicus Lane near Crystal Drive and Metro Parkway.

Investigators said late Thursday afternoon that the cause of the fire is undetermined. The blaze was so big that three fire departments were called to fight it.

The calls made by firefighters over dispatch were countless and urgent.

“We got a lotta fire. I could use at least one or two more crews…”

“The south side, the roof has completely collapsed. There’s quite a bit of fire inside but you can’t get to it…”

The fire was raging inside a wire and cable company.

“Be advised, on the outside of that building, you have 5 or 6 propane tanks…”

Employees like Bob Gomez saw the fire and knew his livelihood was going up in flames.

“Yeah, very shocked. They don’t have a job right now and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, you know. I plan to retire from this place.”

The building is owned by Craig Blanchett’s family. He runs the business right next door.

“Luckily, we were able to save our trailer company,” Blanchett said, expressing his appreciation for firefighters.

But the impact of the fire that destroyed his family’s building will burn hot for a while.

“It’s hard, especially for all the other employees that were next door, they’re going to have to look for things to do, especially at this time of year,” Blanchett said.

“You know, I had a secure job and now it’s gone,” Gomez said.

As he watched the building fall apart, he summed up everything in one simple sentence: “It’s a pretty sad day.”

Blanchette said they’ll salvage what they can and “just go day by day.”

“What we’re looking for is fire behavior patterns. There’s going to be smoke behavior patterns, heat patterns, fire travel patterns, that all point back to the area of origin,” said Dale Reisen, lead investigator with the task force.

Crews will be at the scene through at least Friday to make sure any hot spots don’t ignite.

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