State investigators probing commercial building fire in Alachua

A fire commercial building in the City of Alachua on Jan. 16th remains under investigation, according to the Alachua County fire marshal.

High Springs Fire Department, Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) and the Alachua Police Department were dispatched to the former Lady Bug Florist building located at 15419 NW US Highway 441 at 11:07 p.m. for a reported fire, according to ACFR reports.

Upon arrival, ACFR Engine 21 reported a large, single story commercial building with heavy, black smoke billowing from it. Crews quickly deployed multiple hose lines and began their attack.

“Nearly two dozen firefighters fought the raging inferno for several hours. LaCrosse Fire Department provided station coverage at the Alachua station to fill an increasingly busy northwest quadrant of the county,” the report said.

According to Alachua County Fire Marshal John Adler, about 5,000 square feet of the building was involved in the active fire when he arrived. The owner, Dev Chaudhari of Aashi, Inc. reported that the building was not in active use. He told investigators the power was shut off and that a break-in occurred a week prior to the fire. After the break in, the owner stated that he secured the building, according to reports.

One door on the south side of a fence leading up to the building was found unsecured by firefighters when they arrived, the report states. The door led to a closeted area that had attic access leading to a room corner of the building where the fire started, Adler’s report states.

“Crews forced all doors with the exception of the door noted,” Adler reported.

The state fire marshal was contacted and the scene was held until their arrival. No injuries were reported. The scene was then turned over to the state for further investigation.

Units on scene were as follows: ACFR Engine 21, ACFR Engine 25, HSFD Engine 29, HSFD Squad 29, ACFR Quint 23 (Aerial), ACFR Squad 23, ACFR Rescue 21, HSFD 2901 (Chief), ACFR 1100 (Chief), ACFR District Chief 6, ACFR Training Lieutenant 1 and the ACFR Fire Investigator.

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