Early morning fire destroys construction trailer

- Residents in the Lithia neighborhood of Channing Park are raising concern after a trailer at a construction site caught fire. Some are now worried it could be the latest in a string of arson fires to hit the same neighborhood.

Many of the residents in the neighborhood have just moved into the new development within the last few months. Over that time, there’s been multiple arson fires at homes still under construction. Many are hoping the latest fire isn’t related, but if it is, they hope it’s the last.

Smoke could be seen billowing out of the windows of a temporary office trailer early Saturday morning. Multiple fire engines responded to the scene around 6:00 a.m. after a neighbor on Bright Wheat Drive in Lithia called 911.
 
“I came outside and there were eight engines," resident Maisha Diffenderfer said. "They were along the street with six or seven police cruisers.”
 
It took firefighters a few hours to get the blaze under control, but by that time much of the trailer was destroyed. Nothing but charred wood, blackened metal and bunt office equipment were all that was left.

Diffenderfer lives just two doors from where the trailer caught fire.
 
“It was smokey," she said. "It's concerning, but you know we’ve seen it a few times here before.”
 
In July, three homes still under construction were set on fire. All of them were along the same stretch of road where the trailer caught fire. It’s led neighbor Willard to install a video camera door bell at his door step.

“I want to see what’s going on out there," Ison said. "There’s not a lot of traffic and the road over there, it's also closed so there’s even less traffic.”
 
“Thankfully there’s been no houses that have been actually occupied or structures that have been occupied that were set a blaze," Diffenderfer said. "But it’s still kind of scary. I mean this time it’s just two lots down.”
 
At this time, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue is not offering any further details about the fire and is not saying whether they believe it is arson. The official cause is still under investigation.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue investigators are working to determine what caused a fire inside a construction trailer early Saturday morning. 

Crews were called to the scene on Bright Wheat Drive in Lithia around 5:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found the trailer completely engulfed in flames. 

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze quickly. No one was injured in the fire. 

This isn't the first time crews have been called to the neighborhood. In July, HCFR investigated three fires at homes under construction in the area. All three of those cases were determined to be arson. 

Investigators are examining if this fire is related to the other cases. No arrests have been made in connections with the previous fires. 

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