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While most of Cedar Key slept Sunday night, lightening cracked and most likely began a fire that nearly consumed one building and came perilously close to burning several others on SR 24.
Mermaid’s Landing owner, Kathy Carver, was nearly rolled out of bed by the tremendous thunder boom. She said she was afraid to go outside to look around because of the continuous lightening. Forty-five minutes later, the police were banging on her front door, letting her know there was a fire. A man walking by had seen the flames and called 911.
Cedar Key Volunteer Fire Rescue got the call at 2:13 a.m. and was on the scene containing the fire within 15 minutes. Chiefland Fire arrived within 30 minutes and Rosewood Fire responded about 45 minutes after Cedar Key arrived.
According to one of the volunteers, the sky was glowing and flames were shooting out of the building. They had to act fast to hook up to the nearest hydrant because the engine truck only carries 1,500 gallons, and that goes fast when an old wooden building is up in flames.
Carver said she has owned the property for about 15 years, and lightening has struck three times in the past. There are several large pines and cedars that shade the cottages. One of the trees, a large pine, has peeled back bark on a branch that was hit. The ground and other trees around the pine are charred.
There were no guests at Mermaid's Landing Sunday night, and no one was seriously injured. Carver is trying to clean up the best she can without power, which was disconnected as an added precaution. Sweeping and painting are about all she can do until everything is inspected and hooked back up, she said.
Kathy Carver said she “has to commend the Cedar Key Volunteer Fire department for containing the fire,” but doesn’t really want to see them again anytime soon.