Florida Keys

Fire blazes through part of luxury hotel in the Keys that opened in December

A predawn fire burned part of Bungalows, a luxury, adults only Key Largo resort that opened in December.

Monroe County 911 dispatchers received calls about the blaze at the mile marker 99 bay side resort shortly before 5 a.m. Firefigthers were still battling parts of the fire at 10 a.m., said Chief Don Bock with the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department. The fire caused extensive damage to the newly-opened resort.

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“The restaurant building at Bungalows burned. The entire upstairs burned, and we are still working the scene trying to get to the hot areas,” Bock said in a text message Sunday morning.

No one was injured, Bock said.

In Sunday emails, the resort said though the fire was confined to the Beach House and none of the guest living areas were affected, Bungalows is closed until further notice.

Bungalows opened in December, billed as the only all inclusive resort in the Keys. Instead of hotel rooms, there are 135 private bungalows situated throughout the 12-acre waterfront property.

A guest from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Corey Honabach, said he was having trouble sleeping and his wife, Donnelle Weiss Honabach, had gone outside for an early morning workout on the patio. She came back inside with the news about the fire.

“There’s only one bungalow between us and the clubhouse,” Corey Honabach said. “I went over to the building to see if I could help in any way.”

He couldn’t find anyone to call 911, he said, so he did so himself and grabbed a fire extinguisher because the fire “was still relatively small.”

Honabach said he’d once dealt with a fire at a business he now owns, when a welder came in contact with some insulation. But Sunday’s fire exceeded that one. He thinks a gas line ruptured in the kitchen area and the fire “got way bigger than what a fire extinguisher could handle.”

With the way the wind was blowing, Honabach said, he worried that the fire could be blown to the bungalows.

“I kept knocking on doors to get people up,” he said.

Delray Beach resident Tara Giacinto posted to her Facebook page that she was in the closest bungalow to the clubhouse and a man screamed “FIRE” into her room at 5 a.m.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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