Bradenton fire officials are investigating the cause of a blaze that damaged or destroyed about $1 million worth of inventory at a pawn shop.
The Bradenton Fire Department was dispatched at around 6:30 a.m. to Adams Family Pawn, 2320 First St. W., where fire department Capt. Dana Tindall said lots of smoke could be seen billowing out of the back of the building.
Jerry Adams, owner of Adams Family Pawn for 15 years, said he got a call from his alarm company between 6:30 and 7 a.m. about the motion sensor being triggered. Adams thought someone was trying to break in again. The pawn shop had been burglarized the evening of June 19, where several thousand dollars of jewelry were stolen, according to Bradenton police Lt. James Racky. The pawn shop also experienced a burglary in December 2014.
“I ain’t too happy,” Adams said, noting that the shop had more than $1 million in inventory.
The cause of the fire is unknown and is still under investigation, according to the fire department. Firefighters were able to recover a soot-covered DVR, which may have security footage on it. No one was suspected to be in the building while the blaze was being put out.
“We went into total defensive mode upon arrival due to the nature of where the fire was, how intense it was,” Tindall said.
About two hours after the fire department responded, firefighters were still putting out hot spots in the building and were cutting into the sides of the structure to better access the source. Bradenton police shut down southbound U.S. 41 lanes in the surrounding area but drivers were still able to use the middle turn lane. Florida Power and Light arrived after 9 a.m. to shut off the building’s power.
Fire department program administrator Rebecca Desch said firefighters had to be careful because of acetylene gas, which can be used for welding, was located in the back of the building. As of 9:10 a.m., fire department personnel were waiting for atmospheric conditions to settle before entering the building.
About 12 fire vehicles and 40 personnel responded to the fire. Desch some firefighters had already completed their shift when they responded to the blaze.
“Everyone’s extraordinarily exhausted,” she said.