GULFPORT, Fla. - A fire that consumed the Gulfport Hardware Store on Thursday night was intentionally set by the store's owner, according to the State Fire Marshalls Office Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation (BFAI).
The BFAI said the fire at 5006 Gulfport Boulevard South was started in two places in rapid succession, and investigators were unable to find any accidental causes. In addition, video surveillance, and inconsistencies in the business owner's story led them to believe David Cretella, 64, of Seminole, set it on purpose.
Gulfport Police noticed the fire Thursday evening, and firefighters were on scene for hours, because of multiple explosions caused by paint and chemicals that caught fire. Gulfport Boulevard was shut down until 3:00 a.m. until the fire was completely out. Damages are estimated at $600,000.00. There were no reported injuries.
Cretella, who owned the store for about seven years, is charged with arson. He is in Pinellas County Jail and being held without bond.
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