MANATEE -- The artists who live and work in Village of the Arts near downtown Bradenton often say they are a close-knit community.
They proved it around 10 a.m. Sunday when a fire broke out in the detached yellow shed shared by artists Victor Garcia and Jean G. Farmer behind Garcia's yellow house at 917 12th Ave. W., Bradenton, and neighbors pitched in to help.
Neighbors began banging on the doors at 917 12th Ave. W. and even jumped the fence to try to put the fire out, said Laura Alcover, who owns and runs Alcover Massage, which is also inside 917 12th Ave. W.
"I heard a banging on my door while I was doing a massage, and it was my upset neighbor," Alcover said Sunday. "They yelled that there was smoke coming out of the shed. I went to the backyard and could see flames coming from the shed. I rushed back in and told my people to please get dressed."
Alcover praised Antonio Murray for spraying water from a hose on the walls of Jean Farmer's studio, which is in a separate house right next door to 917 12th Ave. W. Garcia and Farmer share the same shed in their backyards. She also praised Katie Parrott for helping.
A crew of 15 firefighters from the Bradenton Fire Department's Station 1 and Station 2 and Cedar Hammock Fire Department extinguished the blaze in a matter of minutes. The flames charred a wall in the shed, destroyed some art supplies and damaged a small trailer, said Steve Trompke, battalion chief with the Bradenton department. After the fire, much of what remained were pieces of metal Garcia uses.
Garcia's art business at same address is called Studio 65, and he specializes in aluminum and bronze sculptures, Alcover said. Farmer owns Fun Girl Art in the house next door to 917 12th Ave. W.
Alcover suspects a cigarette carelessly tossed into dried grass could be to blame. Trompke said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Firefighters were on scene at 10:25 a.m. Sunday, had water on the fire at 10:28 a.m. and had the fire under control at 10:37 a.m., Trompke said.
"There was significant damage to the shed," Trompke said. "It seems like the fire started outside the structure. A wall inside the shed and the back fence were burned up, and an enclosed trailer had some damage to it. I don't know if some of his supplies or tools were damaged."
No surrounding structures were damaged, Trompke added.
There were no injuries, Trompke said.
However, there was a non-human casualty.
Farmer had 10,000 worms in a plastic tote. The worms all perished due to the heat, she said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.