Florida Keys

Main building at Key Largo’s new luxury resort destroyed after massive fire

Fire burns part of Key Largo resort

A fire burned part of Bungalows, a luxury, adults only Key Largo resort on May 5, 2019. The main building that houses the restaurant, bar, spa and lobby was destroyed.
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A fire burned part of Bungalows, a luxury, adults only Key Largo resort on May 5, 2019. The main building that houses the restaurant, bar, spa and lobby was destroyed.

The main building that houses the restaurant, bar, spa and lobby of the adults-only, all-inclusive Bungalows resort in Key Largo was destroyed after a large fire raged there early Sunday morning.

Firefighters continued to pour water on the smoldering remains of the building Monday afternoon at the mile marker 99 bay side resort, which is closed until further notice, according to its website.

“The upstairs is completely destroyed,” Chief Don Bock, with the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department, said Monday. “And, the downstairs has a lot of water damage.”

The cause of the fire, which started around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, is under investigation by the state Fire Marshal. Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also at the scene Monday, Bock said.

No one was injured in the blaze.

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A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office car is parked at the entrance of Bungalows Key Largo Monday, May 6, as a Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department truck enters the property. A fire destroyed the main building at the hotel Sunday, May 5. David Goodhue/dgoodhue@flkeysnews.com

“At this time, the investigation remains open and ongoing,” Alecia Collins, spokeswoman for the Fire Marshal, said in a statement. “A final determination into the cause, nature and origin of this fire incident remains under investigation.”

Guillermo Onate, an Uber driver, was at Pinecrest Bakery around 5 a.m. and watched as the fire spread.

Local media reported that the private Bahamian resort Princess Cays, owned by Princess Cruises went up in flames on January 28, 2019.

“It burned so fast. Once we saw the first flames, the other ones spread really fast. It was a matter of seconds,” Onate said from the bakery parking lot, which is located directly across U.S. 1 from the resort.

He also described hotel staff evacuating guests away from the flames.

“They were being taken out by golf carts from the area where the fire was going on. They were all in pajamas and scared,” Onate said.

Bungalows opened in December, billed as the only all-inclusive resort in the Keys. Instead of hotel rooms, the resort has 135 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,” he 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.

This report will be updated as more information becomes available.

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