Venice Police Department investigating numerous brush fires that appeared to have been intentionally set near beach parks

One individual questioned and then released

This is one area on fire on Sept. 3. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

The Venice Police Department (VPD) is investigating brush fires that appeared to have been set by one or more persons on Sept. 3 in “various areas of vegetation at or near the beach parks from Venice Beach to Caspersen and Lake Venice Golf Club, as well as Venetian Waterway Park Trail near MarineMax,” the agency has reported.

A Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office advisory said the incidents began about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Venice Police Department noted that all of the fires had been extinguished or were “largely contained by 8:30 p.m.”

Caspersen Beach Park and Venice Beach are Sarasota County Government-owned properties. Caspersen’s address is 4100 Harbor Drive S. in Venice, while Venice Beach is located at 101 The Esplanade.

None of the blazes was located in the area near Sharky’s on the Pier restaurant or the Venice Fishing Pier, the Police Department pointed out, and no structures were damaged.

Venice Police Department officers did question one suspect, but they released that individual, a news release said. “Additional leads are

being followed,” the release noted. “Several tips have been received,” it said, and VPD appreciates the community’s assistance Sunday

night in clearing the area as officers worked with Fire personnel to contain the blazes and attempt to locate the source.”

As of Sept. 4, the release continued, the investigation remained active without an arrest. “Fire Rescue crews will periodically check the area for flare-ups,” that release pointed out.

Anyone who might have information related to the incidents has been asked to call 941-486-2444, the release added.

During a Sept. 6 update on the department’s Facebook page, Capt. Eric Hill reiterated the fact that the investigation remains underway, with no arrests having been made.

No other information had been released by the deadline for publication of this issue of The Sarasota News Leader.

This is the site of the Coast Guard Auxiliary property after the fires. It is located at 1200 Harbor Drive S. Image courtesy of the Venice Police Department via Facebook

The Sheriff’s Office, with one of its helicopters, joined the Sarasota County Fire Department, the Florida Forest Service and the Nokomis Fire Department in assisting the Police Department, the Sheriff’s Office and the Venice Police Department said.