A two-story oceanfront vacation rental property on S. Fletcher Ave. in Fernandina Beach was destroyed in an early morning fire Monday and state investigators have been called to determine the cause and origin of the blaze, according to Fire Chief Ty Silcox, who said no injuries were reported.
The house was believed to be unoccupied, according to the chief. He said a house cleaner may have been the last person to be inside the building.
Emergency dispatchers were called to 1088 S. Fletcher Ave, south of Jasmine St., just after 2:30 a.m. by someone who reported seeing smoke but not flames, according to an announcement issued by the city’s Public Information Officer through the chief. Upon arrival, fire crews reported heavy flames venting from windows.
Chief Silcox said firefighters encountered heavy smoke and flames when they entered the building and were forced outside when the second floor collapsed. He said the fire took about 90 minutes to extinguish and was reported to be completely out at 4:20 a.m.
According to the chief, both city stations responded along with Nassau County Fire Rescue Stations 20 and 70.
Chief Silcox said the fire appears to have started in the lower level but does not appear to be suspicious. He said the state Fire Marshal will handle the investigation.
“The fire doesn’t need to be suspicious to be investigated,” he said by phone Monday morning. “You don’t have any idea what happened until you investigate.”
Property management company ERA Real Estate in Fernandina Beach confirmed by phone Monday afternoon that the house was not occupied by renters at the time of the fire. A representative said the owners are from Jacksonville.
“The family is devastated and we’re just trying to pick-up the pieces,” said the representative.
According to the city building department, the house vacation rental is licensed and there are no current building permits issued for the property.