For the second time since May, a fire ripped through the top floor of a Naples Bath and Tennis Club apartment building early Wednesday morning.
The blaze began in an apartment at 1820 Bald Eagle Drive around 1:30 a.m., according to North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District officials.
Approximately 40 firefighters and units from four fire districts responded to the scene, said North Naples fire chief Orly Stolts. No injuries were reported in the nine-unit structure, which is part of a community of condos and houses just south of the intersection of Pine Ridge and Airport-Pulling roads.
The chief said he spoke with three people displaced from that building.
Fire officials believe in both cases that the fires started in the south-facing third floor apartment, but there is no indication of a connection between the two events.
"It could be a coincidences," Stolts said. "It's odd, but it could be a coincidence."
A fire on the afternoon of May 12 at nearby 1860 Bald Eagle Drive also started in a seasonally occupied third-floor apartment before spreading through the roof and destroying all three apartments and rendering nine more in the building uninhabitable.
That building remains under reconstruction, and the fire remains under investigation by the state fire marshal. No cause has been officially determined.
The working theory is that the May fire was not intentionally set, but because of the extensive damage, the final word rests with the state fire marshal.
The damage caused Wednesday is less than the May fire, which decimated the roof and required the building at 1860 Bald Eagle Drive to be stripped to its concrete blocks and rebuilt.
Stolts attributed a more successful intervention in Wednesday's fire compared with the one in May to less wind, higher humidity, and an earlier arrival by fire teams at the scene.
Because the buildings were constructed in the 1970s, they pre-date codes requiring sprinklers and fire walls.
Instead, the mansard roofs on both addresses have open attics, which allows fire to spread across the top of the building quickly, Stolts said.