Fire torches former Fernandina Beach juvenile facility

The cause is under investigation, but lightning is one possible cause

By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

Photo via Fernandina Beach Fire Department

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Lightning might be to blame for a structure fire that ripped through an abandoned juvenile detention facility in Fernandina Beach.

Crews answering a brush fire call at 10:20 p.m. Tuesday near Lisa and North Fletcher avenues found the 4,000-square foot structure engulfed in flames, the Fernandina Beach Fire Department said. Unable to make their way inside, firefighters instead set up a perimeter around the facility.

Because of the facility’s remote location, crews had to lay more than 1,600 feet of hose and use a variety of equipment to supply enough water to bring the flames under control. According to the fire department, it took nearly three dozen city and county firefighters over three hours to put the fire out.

There was heavy damage to the building, which was determined to be a total loss. The facility once was the site of the Nassau Juvenile Residential Facility, has been deserted since it was shuttered because of budget cuts in February 2012.

No one was inside at the time and no injuries were reported.

The cause has not yet been determined and remains under investigation by the state Fire Marshal’s Office and the Fernandina Beach Police Department. “Due to the stormy weather, just prior to the report of this fire, lightning is being considered as a potential cause,” the fire department said.

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