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Fire Marshal investigates Dock Street fire

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By Kellie Parkin

The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating a fire that broke out on Dock Street earlier this month. The Feb. 12 fire was noticed by two Frog’s Landing patrons as they left the restaurant around 11:30 p.m. The women returned to Frog’s to tell staff that they saw flames in the breezeway that runs below the restaurant between Water’s Edge and Niko’s Bait Shop. While one Frog’s Landing employee called 9-1-1, another grabbed a fire extinguisher and rushed to the breezeway. Kyle Velders had the flames extinguished just as police arrived. The fire melted some nearby PVC pipes, causing water to spray and possibly slowing the fire down. The quick action of the patrons and employees made the incident less severe, said Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson. “If it had been an hour or two later, it would have been a whole different story,” he said. Police and fire officials determined that the fire was suspicious and notified the State Fire Marshal’s office. “It started in an area that there’s no reason for a fire to start on its own,” said Cedar Key Police Cpl. David Perry. “The fire marshal arrived around 2:30 (a.m.) and took over the investigation.”    Although extinguished quickly, the fire caused some damage to the second floor restaurant, said Frog’s Landing owner Jimmy Statham. “The fire damaged our computer and phone system,” Statham said. “We lost the ability to process credit cards for hours and lost all sales with open checks.”  The fire also damaged the carbon dioxide lines running to the bar. “We couldn’t sell draft beer until the company got the system up and running late Saturday afternoon,” he said.   Phones service was not restored until AT&T made repairs Sunday afternoon, he said.  Statham also noted the fortunate timing of the fire. “It could have taken everything out,” he said. “The way the wind was blowing that night, it would have taken the flames all the way down to (Sea Breeze)."