ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — Several guests are displaced and repair work is underway following an overnight fire at the popular TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach.
St. Pete Beach City officials said the fire broke out at 2:30 a.m. and firefighters from St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and St. Petersburg all responded.
The 5th and 6th floors from the Breckenridge Bluegreen timeshare Building were evacuated, along with all the floors of the north half of the building.
A fire chief at the scene told ABC Action News that an air conditioning unit caught fire and many rooms were damaged by water as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.
Three people had minor injuries but were not injured bad enough to have to go to the hospital.
City officials said those who were displaced were given new rooms on the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort property or moved to a neighboring hotel.
Restoration crews spent the day Tuesday evaluating the damage and making repairs.
Leanne Gossage witnessed the blaze. As she was getting ready to head to bed at 2:30AM at the Coral Reef Resort next door, she heard a loud noise. “We heard some popping going on. We looked over and the second AC unit was starting to spark," she explained.
Within minutes, she watched as those sparks turned into a fiery blaze and embers started falling to the ground.
"You could see through the doors that there was a lot of smoke and some of the people at the end were trying to come out and with how much fire and embers were coming down the side, we yelled at them to go inside and go a different way so I was concerned about some of the people’s safety," Gossage said.
As families scambled out in their pajamas, Gossage tried to warn them about the danger above, which included falling embers and part of the AC unit tumbling down to the ground. “I’m really glad no one got hurt. It’s very relieving," she added.
Gossage said she watched as several older guests and young families evacuated the hotel and made their way to the beach to safety.
Video from the scene showed the fire coming out of the side of the hotel.
Officials said mitigation teams are working at the scene.
Statement from Bob LaCasse, Managing Director, TradeWinds Island Resorts:
"There was a fire last evening at the TradeWinds Island Grand in the Bluegreen timeshare building, located on the north side of the property. Our top concern and priority is the safety of our guests and staff and we are happy to say there were no reported injuries and everyone exited the building safely. The fire began on the 6th floor through an AC unit. The building has been secured and a room by room assessment is currently taking place. A portion of the building will remain closed at this time and we are working diligently to relocate those resort guests. We are thankful to our staff and the local authorities who acted swiftly to ensure the safety of everyone involved."
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