ANNA MARIA -- A fire that closed the iconic Rod &Reel Restaurant and Pier on Sept. 30 was caused by "radiant heat over time," West Manatee Fire & Rescue said Tuesday.
Inspector Keith Miller said in a press release Tuesday that investigators have determined the blaze at the wood-framed restaurant at 875 North Shore Drive was accidental and the result of radiant heat over time.
Interviews, plus an examination of the evidence led to the determination, according to the release.
Repairs are expected to take up to two months to complete.
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There was nothing found to indicate any malicious intent or negligence in connection with the fire, which originated on the south side of the structure on the second floor inside the wall protecting the fryers.
The cause was radiant heating of the wall (exothermic decomposition), continuing over a long period of time in a confined space, which led to slow oxidation of a combustible material. At this point, spontaneous ignition took place, according to the news release.
The fire’s unique circumstances did not release enough heat to activate the pier’s fire alarm or suppression system, investigators said.