HOLMES BEACH, FL (WWSB) - After hours of investigating, Manatee County fire crews determined a Sunday blaze at the West Coast Surf Shop on Holmes Beach was caused by an electrical issue with a neon light.
Just before 3:00 p.m. the fire broke out at the shop, located at 3902 Gulf Dr. Holmes Beach.
According to West Manatee Fire and Rescue, 33 people were in the store when the fire started. Witnesses said that employees quickly evacuated the building as soon as they started smelling smoke. No one was injured in the incident.
According to West Manatee Fire and Rescue, it took about 15 firefighters to knock the fire down. They estimate over $250,000 in damages to the building.
The West Coast Surf Shop has been a staple in the community since the 1960s. The owners were too upset to go on camera in the days that followed the fire, but a friend said they plan to rebuild and return to business.
Those who frequent the shop said they hope to see the family owners recover.
"It was a really nice shop with lots of surf attributes and it's really iconic for the island, so it's a bad loss," said Sander Crooks, a man from Europe who visits the island every year.
"It's been here a long time, over 55 years," added Louann Williams, a woman who's lived in Holmes Beach for over 15 years. "I was devastated. I heard about it first, being in Sarasota and then on my way home, I had to drive by and took some pictures to send to my family to show the devastation of it all. So yeah, we're concerned. Hopefully they will rebuild and it will come back."
Video obtained from the scene shows flames engulfing the structure as first responders arrived on the scene. Investigators are working to determine if the structure can be salvaged.
At this time the cause of the fire is unknown.
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