UPDATE: Fire damages Sea Watch condo unit

Steve Stefanides

Marco Island Fire-Rescue crews were dispatched to the Sea Watch Condominiums, 209 S. Collier Blvd., on Monday for a reported structure fire. Upon arrival, crews found a heavily involved unit on the first floor. The fire had vented to the exterior of the building by blowing out the rear glass sliding doors due to the extreme heat.

Firefighters prepare to enter the Seawatch unit.

Firefighters were able to quickly bring the blaze under control and the heavy damage was contained to that specific dwelling. The interior of the unit suffered extensive damage due to heavy fire and smoke.

“The crews on scene made a great stop and prevented any extension of the fire to other units,” said Deputy Chief Chris Byrne.

“Neighbors said they heard no alarms from inside the residence prior to another resident noticing smoke coming from the unit while walking in the driveway,” said Ray Munyon, Marco’s fire marshal. “Due to the extent of the damage we are not able to ascertain whether or not the unit had a working fire detection device,” continued Munyon.

Photo shows damage to both first and second levels.

Some smoke damage was sustained by adjoining units, but that damage was minimal.

Fire Inspector John Harris pointed out the need to be diligent in checking fire detection devices within your homes, whether they be single family, condos or apartments.

“As important as it is to check batteries and change them on a regular basis, you should also replace fire and smoke detectors every 10 years. The photocells within them can go bad and render them unworkable, regardless of the age of a battery,” said Harris.

The origin of the fire was unclear, but investigators on the scene have it narrowed down to the area of the washer-dryer room off the kitchen.

Munyon also cautioned homeowners and renters to regularly clean out dryer vents and screens on dryers to ensure they operate safely.

The unit was unoccupied at the time of the fire as the husband and wife were shopping in Naples. Those occupants were not the owners but renters from out of state, fire officials said.

Marco was assisted by the Greater Naples Fire District in addition to members of Collier County EMS as they battled the blaze.