Residential fire on the night of July 4 may have been started by fireworks, Sheriff’s Office reports

Family safe, but one dog missing, friend reports on Facebook

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office released this photo of the Ashley Parkway house ablaze on the night of July 4. Image courtesy Sheriff’s Office

A late-night, July 4 residential fire at 5228 Ashley Parkway, in the eastern part of Sarasota County, may have been caused by fireworks, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said in announcing that that agency was assisting the Sarasota County Fire Department on the scene.

“All residents are safe,” the report added. However, Sarasota County Emergency Services Department staff said in a July 5 Facebook post that one firefighter was injured.

On July 6, Sara Nealeigh, the media relations officer for Emergency Services, told The Sarasota News Leader that the firefighter did not have to be transported to a hospital.

In an evening email update to the news media on July 6, she explained that the “injured firefighter was treated and released at the scene.”

The Sheriff’s Office alert, which was sent out at 12:25 a.m. on July 5, explained that Ashley Parkway in Sarasota County was closed because of the incident. The parkway was not reopened until 4:05 a.m. that day, a subsequent Sheriff’s Office report said.

This aerial map shows the location of the house on Ashley Parkway. Image from Google Maps

A Sarasota County Emergency Services Facebook post on July 5 said that the Sarasota County Fire Department (SCFD) responded to the structure fire in the 5200 block of Ashley Parkway around 10:24 p.m. on July 4. “Crews reported a working fire upon arrival,” the post continued. “Over the course of the night,” the post added, “more than 20 SCFD units responded to the three-alarm structure fire. Fire out was called around 12:02 a.m. Tuesday, July 5. There were no transports. After monitoring the structure overnight, SCFD crews cleared the scene around 10:07 a.m. [on July 5]. SCFD has contacted the State Fire Marshal’s Office.”

This is an aerial view of the house before the fire, shown on the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s website. Image courtesy Property Appraiser Bill Furst

In her July 6 evening update to the news media, Nealeigh explained that the Fire Department does not conduct investigations into the causes of fires. “SCFD reached out to and is in contact with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the agency that performs cause and origin investigations,” she added.

In response to the July 5 Emergency Services Facebook post, the News Leader found the following comment from Tricia Bolds of Sarasota:

“This was my childhood home that my parents built, and was sold in 2007 to one of my friends from high school. This is devastating to this family who has several children and are well known in the area. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers!! Regardless of how it started, it is still a large family without a home today.”

Bolds was responding to other comments in regard to speculation that fireworks ignited the fire.

This is a photo of Tosh. Image courtesy of Tricia Bolds, via Facebook

She also answered a queston posed on Facebook about whether the family’s dogs were safe. At least one dog was able to get out of the house, Bolds wrote, while one did not and a third dog is missing. On a Facebook page that is public, Bolds wrote on July 5 that the missing dog is a Dutch shepherd named Tosh that is about 7 months old and weighs 60 pounds. “She will be scared,” Bolds added of the dog, asking people who see Tosh not to chase her.

The Sarsota County Property Appraiser’s Office says the Ashley Parkway parcel on which the house stood comprises 43,586 square feet, which is slightly more than an acre.

The Property Appraiser’s Office records also show that the house was sold to its current owners in September 2008 for $600,000. The market value of the land and the seven-bedroom, four-bathroom residence was put at $698,700 last year.

Although the News Leader requested a copy of the Fire Department report on the incident, that was not available prior to the publication of this edition.