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Fatal structure fire in North Fort Myers


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Fatal structure fire in North Fort Myers

By Stephen McNelis. CREATED Feb 5, 2014 - UPDATED: Feb 5, 2014

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of a fatal early-morning fire in North Fort Myers.

Fire crews responding to the call just before 4AM at the intersection of Laurel Dr and North Tamiami Trail.

Investigators with the North Fort Myers Fire Department tell Fox 4 within minutes of responding to the blaze and containing it they discovered one person dead. 

"We did have flames showing from the front. We had a very quick knock down," said Frank Rizzo, Investigator for North Fort Myers Fire, "Of course once we did the interior attack we were able to see there was a fatality inside."

As day broke, aerial imagies shot by our crew revealed that the structure is an old motel.

People familiar with the area say the building was closed for years and they're surprised anyone was inside. 

"I said wow -- I was not expecting anyone that was living there," said Lazzaro Martinez.

Martinez works at a gardening supply show across the street from the now totaled motel. 

He says the building has been unoccupied for monts, adding the person who died most likely had nowhere else to go. 

"Homeless or somebody was living there. Because, like I said it was empty. I say maybe a homeless was living there," said Martinez. 

Deputeis have yet to identify the person killed in the blaze as investigators continue to look into how the fire broke out in the first place. 

And eighbors like Martinez are anxious to hear the findings. 

"Nothing like this ever happen before, so I was surprised," he said.