A three-alarm fire brought the center of Ybor City to a standstill Wednesday night as firefighters rushed to extinguish a blaze that destroyed the Amphitheatre club on 7th Avenue.
The fire raged on for six hours. Two firefighters were hurt and taken to an area hospital for treatment as a precaution. Both are expected to be OK.
According to fire officials, the fire at 1609 E. 7th Ave. might have been caused by a welder doing work on the building at the time the fire broke out.
The fire was declared under control about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Penny said.
Power was cut to more than a dozen businesses in the area as firefighters battled flames.
Customers at Hamburger Mary’s across the street saw flames and smoke coming from the building, and bartender Mark Eary called 911.
“The police shouted up to get people off the balcony,” Eary said. “They were afraid there might be an explosion.”
Because the Amphitheatre is a older brick structure, firefighters took precaution to ensure it was safe to enter.
“It is scary, but it saddens me that a historic site is burning,” Eary said. “This is my town. I love it here. I live here, that’s the most disturbing part about it.”