Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

50-acre brush fire in Ruskin under control after Interstate 75 closed

Hillsborough County firefighters battled a 50-acre brush fire in Ruskin on Saturday that destroyed a warehouse and burned several cars, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

The fire was under control as of 3 p.m., agency spokesman Ronnie Rivera said.

The smoke was so thick that authorities initially closed Interstate 75 in both directions. The southbound lanes reopened at 3:30 p.m., but the northbound lanes remained closed until about 6:15 p.m.

The fire was burning on both the east and west sides of I-75, Rivera said, centered near the area of 27th Street SE and 22nd Avenue SE.

Robert Phillips, 63, owned the warehouse that burned down Saturday. Sitting on 10 acres of unused farm land, the building housed a few farming and building supplies, including about 400 fence posts Phillips had planned to install soon. His son, who lives on 27th Street SE called with the news. Phillips, who was just a few miles away, knew the building was a lost cause as soon as he saw the smoke.

"I could see black smoke from across the interstate," he said, "and I figured everything was gone."

The fire also destroyed a few old racing cars and some farming equipment parked on the land.

"Some of the vehicles were quite valuable," he said. "But I'm glad there weren't any homes."

This is the second time in a few years this piece of land has caught fire, Phillips said. Fireworks were the cause then, he said.

The cause of Saturday's fire is still unknown, Rivera said. It started with about five acres at about noon Saturday just south of the Sun City Center exit of I-75. In just a few hours it grew to 50 acres.

"It's just so dry and windy, it grew out of control," Rivera said.

By late afternoon, the fire was contained to the east side of I-75 and under control with crews continuing to monitor hot spots. No homes were affected and there were no injuries, Rivera said.

50-acre brush fire in Ruskin under control after Interstate 75 closed 03/30/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What we've learned from the Bucs' and Bills' playoff droughts

    Bucs

    Is it possible for the Buccaneers and Bills to be any farther off the NFL's radar? You get the feeling schedule-makers didn't think twice about putting this one down for 1 p.m. Sunday — the let's-hope-no-one-notices time slot.

    [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Motorcycle driver killed after hitting turning car on Keene Road in Largo

    Accidents

    A motorcycle driver was killed Friday evening when he struck a turning car, Largo police said.

  3. Drive-by shooting near Robles Park injures four people standing outside in crowd

    Crime

    TAMPA — Four people standing in a crowd were hit by bullets during a drive-by shooting near Robles Park in Tampa late Friday, Tampa police said.

  4. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.