No one was hurt Thursday afternoon after a fire broke out in a two-story commercial building at 165 Water Street, just to the southeast of the former Taranto and Sons seafood.
With the use of foam and of water, the fire, which began sometime around 3 p.m. was extinguished within about two hours by crews from the Apalachicola, Eastpoint and St. George Island volunteer fire departments.
The blaze did not consume the entire wooden frame house, which featured a large meeting room on the first floor used by Boss Oyster before it closed its doors after Hurricane Michael in 2018.
But lots of water sprayed by the firefighters no doubt ruined everything inside.
The top floor was a large two-bedroom apartment which had been renovated with new furniture and appliances after the hurricane. said Patrick Lee, one of the principals in the Boss Oyster Marina project.
Permits and a contract with a demolition company are now in the works, to raze the overall site that includes the shuttered remnants of this building, as well as Boss Oyster, the Rainbow Inn, Caroline’s Restaurant, and a stretch of one-story commercial storefronts.
Lee said Jeff Hardin, his girlfriend Suzanne Trussell and their son had been living in the apartment for a short time, but had already begun moving out furniture in advance of the demolition that will make room for a new marina.
Lee said Hardin has worked for him in multiple restaurants – including Toucans, Longbills, the Franklin and the Owl – as a chef since 2011. “Jeff is a good man, we love him to death and we’ll support him,” he said.
He said the state fire marshal’s office investigator told him the first started as an electrical fire. The family did lose clothing, which Lee has helped replace.
The structure was part of a $1.74 million purchase by the Apalachicola Trading Company LLC in Dec. 2022 of the sprawling property from Seagrape Enterprises of Apalachicola Inc.