Fire at Summer House restaurant on Siesta extinguished without damage to business

Malfunction of fish tank cited in incident report

The red balloon marks the location of the Summer House in Siesta Village. Image from Google Maps

On Monday, Feb. 26, Sarasota County Fire Department personnel were able to extinguish a fire within the Summer House restaurant in Siesta Key Village before the business suffered any damage, the Fire Department has reported.

At 3:59 p.m. — a minute before the restaurant’s 4 p.m. opening — county fire stations was advised of a fire at the Summer House, which stands at 149 Avenida Messina. The first crew arrived at 4:06 p.m. and had the fire under control by 4:10 p.m., the report says.

The narrative within the report explains that a fire had been discovered beneath the fish tank inside the restaurant. Mike Grantham, the business partner of Osprey resident Chris Brown — who owns numerous businesses in Siesta Village — told the first firefighters on the scene that light smoke and heat were coming from the area of the tank.

Once power to the business was cut for safety purposes, the report says, firefighters were able to discover an active fire after pulling away seating and an access panel. They extinguished the flames using a can of water, the report adds.

“Water mitigation was done by Fire Service personnel with towels, mops, shop vac,” the report points out.

The fire was attributed to a malfunction of the fish tank.

The total value of the Summer House property was listed in the report as $1 million, with the same amount accorded the contents. No damage to either was cited, with the report pointing out that the incident was confined to the room of origin.

Photo from the Summer House website

The report also noted that detectors are in place in the business, but the fire was too small to activate them. On a list of detectors on the Fire Department report form, which includes smoke and heat detectors, the type of detectors in the restaurant was marked as “Undetermined.” The Fire Department dispatched a total of 27 people to the business, including the engines with firefighters/medics from Fire Stations 1, 2, 11, 12, and 13, the latter of which is on Siesta Key. Two rescue units also were sent to the scene.

February is considered part of high tourist season in the county. Siesta residents have told The Sarasota News Leader they have seen bumper-to-bumper traffic in the environs of Siesta Village within the past two weeks at certain times of day.

The last Fire Department personnel departed the Summer House at 4:53 p.m., the report adds.

Formally, CJB Property Development LLC of Osprey bought the property located at 149 Avenida Messina for $1.3 million in June 2008, Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office records show. Last year, the staff of that office set the market value of the land and structure at $1,502,800.

Chris Brown is the manager of that limited liability company.

He owns or co-owns a number of other parcels in Siesta Village, including the sites of the Hub Baja Grill, The Cottage, the Beach Club and Morton’s Siesta Market.