A bit of Tampa history went up in flames early Monday. Firefighters battled a blaze consuming an abandoned home in the 2000 block of N. Nebraska Avenue around 12:30 this morning.
The Ybor City house was eventually deemed a total loss and was demolished late Monday afternoon.
It took about 50 firefighters nearly two hours to contain the fire. The wooden-framed house burned from the ground up.
"The fire started on the outside and got between and got in the void spaces, got up inside the walls, traveled into the attic," Tampa Fire Marshal Milton Jenkins said Monday.
Heavy smoke drifted across I-4. A portion of the interstate, just northeast of Malfunction Junction, was even shutdown briefly due to poor visibility.
Arson investigators searched the house's charred frame on Monday to find out what went wrong. Jenkins says the area is notorious for suspicious fires.
The fire crumbled the inside structure of the home, leaving crews with no choice but to demolish what was left of the historic home.
"One of the main concerns is that in the city of Tampa, we try to preserve historic buildings and this is one of them. So we would have liked to preserve it, but it has so much fire damage that we have no choice but to knock it down," Jenkins said.
It didn't take long to level. Walls and bricks cracked and crumbled under the weight of a crane just hours later.
Neighbors say it's a sight they've seen far too often. For some, this house was especially hard to see go up in smoke. The Colonial-Revival style house was built in the early 1900's in what was once a premier corridor.
After just a few hours time on Monday, a piece of Tampa history was reduced to rubble.
"Too much history. It's here today and gone tomorrow and you can't replace it. You can replicate it but you really can't replace it," neighbor William Richards said.
Arson investigators are sending a sample of the ground to a state lab to test for accelerants. They're hoping to be able to rule on whether or not the fire was arson in about a week.
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