The Sarasota County Fire Department extinguished a blaze in a second-floor unit of the tallest building at Peppertree Bay after 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9.
But, two hours later, firefighters guided residents and tenants of the Siesta Key property, who had gathered in front of the building, into the complex’s clubhouse.
Smoked had filtered into the complex’s air duct system and into at least two other floors of the building.
Smoke billowed out of a fourth-floor window of the high-rise.
“Once the fire’s out, that’s one of the toughest parts of a high-rise fire,” said Assistant Fire Chief Bill Hoag.
Some of the 25 firefighters called to the scene, which drew onlookers to the 6000 block of Midnight Pass Road, used high-powered fans to expel the smoke from each unit in the building.
It was only the second high-rise structure fire so far this year, Hoag said. The first was the more intense fire on Lido Key where local authorities found flammable chemicals.
Although at least eight firefighters were hospitalized because of the Lido incident, the only injury Dec. 9 was to a firefighter who slipped in one of the building’s stairwells. Hoag said it was a minor injury, but the firefighter would be taking some time off duty.