Harbour Pointe Apartments fire displaces residents

A second-floor bathroom at Harbour Pointe Apartments in Bradenton experienced extensive damage Wednesday night in a fire.
A second-floor bathroom at Harbour Pointe Apartments in Bradenton experienced extensive damage Wednesday night in a fire. acastillo@bradenton.com

Residents from at least four apartment units were displaced by a fire at Harbour Pointe Apartments in Bradenton, according to the Cedar Hammock Fire Department.

Cedar Hammock Fire Marshal Eric Center said firefighters received a call at 9:27 p.m. Wednesday about the fire at 4590 70th St. W.

“There was an occupant who started smelling smoke and he called 911. We get there, don’t see a whole lot and it ended up that there was a fire in the outside wall,” Center said Thursday evening. “There was a fire inside the wall and it was just smoldering for however many hours or days, I couldn’t tell you.”

No injuries were reported and everyone was evacuated from the complex.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, according to Center, and the four damaged apartment units were deemed uninhabitable.

Seven fire engines, one ladder truck and an EMS unit responded, the fire marshal added. West Manatee Fire Rescue, Southern Manatee Fire and Rescue District and the Bradenton Fire Department assisted Cedar Hammock firefighters.

On the first floor, Harbour Pointe residents Maureen Whitt and her husband, Jerry Whitt, were busy packing their belongings Thursday afternoon for the move to a new home in Parrish. Their bathroom ceiling had collapsed, leaving chunks of plaster in the bathtub and floor.

The newlyweds had just gotten some boxes Wednesday night with plans to pack slowly until they closed on the new house next Thursday, but the fire expedited the process. Maureen said she smelled smoke and came outside with her husband. They soon realized something was burning.

“I’m fine. I’m a psychiatric RN,” Maureen said. “My job is to help calm everybody.”

Karleen Frederick, who lives on the opposite end of the building where the fire took place, was in bed when she said she heard men talking outside.

“I looked out and there were firemen,” she said as she sat in a lawn chair Wednesday afternoon. “I’m like ‘Uh oh!’”

She and her husband, Richard Frederick, were soon joined outside by other residents.

“You could smell the smoke. It was coming out of the ridge on the top,” Richard said. “I think it originated in the apartment upstairs on the back side of this.”

The Fredericks were evacuated from their second-floor apartment like other residents in the building and slept in a motel Wednesday night. By Thursday afternoon, their power had returned.

“Thank goodness there wasn’t a lot of fire and and nobody got hurt,” Center said. “It stayed within the walls there.”

Amaris Castillo: 941-745-7051, @AmarisCastillo