Fire destroys real estate office
SEBRING - Within about a day or so after part of the two-story wood building at 122 Commerce Ave. was rented, fire heavily damaged it. On Tuesday afternoon, the building was torn down because it was leaning and could have presented a hazard, Fire Chief Brad Batz said. “It’s leaning real bad.” Batz said the fire call came in around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning and wasn’t completely extinguished until more than four hours later, he added. The State Fire Marshal’s Office was investigating the cause of the fire, Batz said.The fire threatened the nearby building at 130 Commerce Ave. that is occupied by Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center. The firefighters stopped the fire from spreading to that building, he said. Roseann Kiefer praised the firefighters for saving her building. “The firefighters did an awesome job,” she said. “Their great work kept my office from burning. It was amazing to watch them.” She said she may have had some minor damage to the exterior of her building and the room, but it could have been a lot worse. “It would have only taken a couple of sparks to hit my roof and this place would have been gone also,” Kiefer said. Her building is 3 feet or less from the location of the fire. Kiefer said her business has been at that location for more than 25 years. Robert D’Arinzo, of West Palm Beach, the owner of the building that was destroyed, said he has owned it since 2003 and the Pier Group, a real estate firm, occupied it. He said part of the building was rented to a business that planned to occupy it beginning in June, but he didn’t recall the type of business. D’Arinzo said the building was constructed in the 1920s or 1930s. “It’s a historic building,” he added. He said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll rebuild.