3-alarm fire burns vacant office building on Arlington Expressway

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue chief says fire is suspicious in nature

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of Jacksonville firefighters battled a fire Tuesday afternoon inside a six-story office building on the Arlington Expressway.

Motorists saw smoke coming from the building about  2 p.m. and called 911. Arriving firefighters said they saw smoke coming from the first three floors. 

Firefighters forced their way inside and found the source of the fire on the second floor.

A third-alert was called, resulting in multiple engines, ladder trucks and 40 firefighters battling the fire. It was brought under control about 90 minutes after the first units arrived.

"There was endless smoke coming out and it smelled like an electrical fire, or something besides your actual fire," neighbor Melissa Kendrick said.

Firefighters remained on site for hours, and the service road on the south side of the expressway was blocked.

A Jacksonville Fire-Rescue chief said investigators believe the fire suspicious in nature. Local and state fire marshals will determine the origin and cause of the fire.

Despite claims by bystanders that people were inside, firefighters went floor-by-floor, searching the entire building and found no one inside. No firefighters were injured.

The building has been vacant for years. 

News4Jax did a story last summer about the three neighboring office buildings in what was once called the Green Oaks Plaza, one of which used to house the area's FBI headquarters. The buildings were attracting squatters, vandals, runaways and crime.

READ: News4Jax previous story on vacant office building

The windows and doors are boarded up, but that was not keeping people out. People said that the homeless hang out there every night. In March 2018, police found a missing Arlington woman and her five children living in one of the buildings.

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