Florida Keys

Key West blaze threatens Duval Street building

Key West firefighters after knocking down an early-morning fire Tuesday on Duval Street that began on a lane behind these buildings.
Key West firefighters after knocking down an early-morning fire Tuesday on Duval Street that began on a lane behind these buildings. Keynoter

Fire broke out in downtown Key West about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday when a two-story house became engulfted in flames and spread to the back of a Duval Street business.

By 6:55 a.m., the fire had been contained but crews remained and the area was blocked off from traffic due to firefighting equipment still on the streets, city spokeswoman Alyson Crean said.

No injuries were reported, said Key West Fire Chief Mike Davila. Damage was contained to 522 DuPont Ln. and 715 Duval St., a two-story building with a T-shirt shop called Lazy Days out front that is next door to a building that houses Southernmost Tattoo and a hammock shop.

“DuPont Lane runs behind all these buildings right here,” Davila said as he stood outside 715 Duval. “It’s both sides. It’s a lot of structure damage. No damage to any other structures at all.”

Fire reports in laid-back Key West attract immediate attention on an island where closely knit wooden buildings stand in clusters.

Early risers reported seeing black smoke fill the sky and a burnt stench tainting the air in Bahama Village and other spots bordering Duval, while business owners were awakened early with news of the blaze.

Mayor Craig Cates was at the scene, praising firefighters for keeping the fire from spreading.

“Very difficult fire to control in those old wood houses so close together,” Cates posted on Facebook, along with several photos of firefighters working the scene.

Fire officials didn’t immediately release a cause, but Davila said there was construction going on at one of the buildings.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen

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