Fire damages Shore restaurant

- Brian Hollinger | Submitted

LONGBOAT KEY – The Shore restaurant under construction at 800 Broadway sustained damage in a fire the night of Wednesday, Oct. 24. No injuries were reported, and the cause remains unknown.

The interior of the building appears badly damaged, but the exterior appears intact with charring to some surfaces, and some hurricane windows melted or blown out.

The building is on the site of the former Moore’s Stone Crab restaurant, which closed three years ago.

Longboat Key Fire Rescue was on scene this morning, joined by the State Fire Marshal, who is now investigating the fire.

“At 2202 hours (10:02 p.m.) on Wednesday, Oct. 24, Longboat Key, West Manatee, and Sarasota County Fire Departments responded with 20 firefighters to 800 Broadway for a reported commercial structure fire. Upon arrival of the first units, they encountered heavy fire showing from the entrance of a large structure, under construction,” according to a Longboat Key Fire Rescue press release.

“The initial crews stretched two hose lines, quickly extinguishing the body of fire at the entrance and extended rooms. The fire was under control within 30 minutes. There were no reports of any injuries,” the press release said.

“The State Fire Marshal was called to the scene and secured the site overnight. The investigation continued this morning where the State Fire Marshal had their arson dog called to the scene, as normal operating procedure, to assist with locating any accelerants. Samples have been taken and will be sent to the state lab for analysis. The results may take up to four weeks to receive.

“This does not indicate the fire was arson, rather it provides further evidence to assist with a complete investigation. The scene is continuing to be investigated and once complete will be turned back over to the owners,” according to the press release.

At 8:30 a.m. this morning, co-owner Tom Leonard was standing outside the building, talking on his cell phone and still waiting to be let inside to examine the damage.

When asked, he said the construction project was approximately six to eight weeks from completion when the fire occurred. He estimated the fire would add an additional two months to complete the project. He said this timetable would depend in part on how long it takes for the insurance company to settle the claim.

At 4 p.m. this afternoon, Longboat Key Fire Rescue spokesperson Tina Adams said she believed the construction site had been turned back over to the owners.

When construction is completed, the 185-seat, coastal-style eatery will join its sister establishment, Shore, on St. Armands Key.