Deputies: Palatka woman burning beer boxes sparks 5-acre brush fire

Tina Marie Barnard, 51, arrested

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Booking photo of Tina Barnard on Putnam County Sheriff's Office image

PALATKA, Fla. - A large brush fire was sparked Tuesday by a woman who was burning beer boxes in the backyard of her home on State Road 20 in Palatka, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said.

Tina Marie Barnard, 51, faces one misdemeanor count of illegal burning and one misdemeanor count of reckless burning.

Just before 5 p.m., investigators said, Barnard started a fire to burn beer boxes in her backyard then went inside, leaving the fire unattended. The fire quickly spread to a wooded area next to her property and burned 5 acres, deputies said.

Firefighters battled the blaze for more than five hours before the flames were contained.

Deputies said they also helped evacuate a child care center during the wildfire.

Wednesday morning, the Sheriff's Office obtained a warrant for Barnard's arrest.

“Only a fool would burn beer boxes or any trash, for that matter, during a burn ban. Barnard’s actions were reckless and placed lives and property in danger. While the brush fire may have been unintentional, her carelessness could have killed someone," said Sheriff Gator DeLoach.

Barnard was booked into the Putnam County Jail on $2,000 bond.

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