By Tamas Mondovics
The message to residents in FishHawk, Ruskin and surrounding areas is strong, clear and straight forward: be alert.
Fire conditions are ripe; there is little doubt following a week’s worth of alarms from one end of the county to the other, involving multiple brush fires, one of them resulting in a fatality of a Riverview man, two of them destroyed homes in Ruskin, and two came too close for comfort in FishHawk and Lithia.
“Everything is dry and the wind is only adding to the dangerous conditions,” said HCFR spokesman, Ronnie Rivera.
With all of that on the list of ingredients, Rivera emphasized the need to be on high alert.
At 3 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue units responded to a structure fire at 10323 Cone Grove in Riverview.
Upon arrival, HCFR units confirmed that the residence was fully-engulfed in flames. Although the fire was completely extinguished in about 20-25 minutes, and a search was performed while the house was still burning, rescue crews discovered a man in one of the bedrooms deceased.
The 911 caller was a neighbor that happened to be the victim’s daughter. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
Just days later, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue units responded to a report of a large, 30-acre brush fire in the area of 27th Street SE and 21st Ave. SE in Ruskin affecting nearby homes and properties.
Rivera said that the fire was spreading very quickly and was contained, but not before a mobile home, a carnival trailer and a few vehicles on the property were consumed.
It was also a little too close for comfort in one FishHawk neighborhood during an 11-acre brush fire which, according to HCFR, was started by several teens playing with fireworks.
A total of 20 units and about 40 Hillsborough County Fire Rescue personnel along with Florida Forestry firefighters responded to the scene as the fire was threatening homes and nearby Bevis Elementary School.
It took fire crews about one hour to have the fire under control and, while there were no injuries reported, the fire damaged the fences of two homes which were made out of PVC that burned and melted from the exposure to heat and flames.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue units as well as Florida Forestry continued their fight on Sunday, March 31, after a call of a brush fire in the area of 7242 Lithia Pinecrest Rd.
“A total of 11 acres were involved,” Rivera said. “There was a concern of about 200 acres being involved, however because of the prompt response of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Florida Forestry and Hillsborough County Sheriff Office helicopter the fire was under control.”
Rivera emphasized that Hillsborough County maintains a No Burning Policy.
For more information, please visit Hillsborough County Fire Rescue at www.hillsboroughcounty.org