Newly-built Venice boardwalk destroyed by fire

- Breathtaking views are just a step away in Venice, but if you take a step back your eyes will focus on a section of burned and mangled debris. 

The charred pieces once made up part of a boardwalk. 

"We literally finished the boardwalk on Friday. We put the last pieces on. We scheduled our final building inspection for Monday," said James Clinch. 

On Sunday, a massive blaze broke out around 3:20 in the morning. It ripped through a fourth of the new structure. Assistant City Engineer James Clinch couldn't believe his eyes. 

"Very, very frustrated. Sad situation that right when we finished, this happened," said Clinch. 

The city had $500,00 set aside for the project. Construction ended up costing only $350,000. 

"This project was under budget, ahead of schedule. Now we are going to have to pick up the pieces and get it put back together," said Clinch. 

Service Club Park remains locked up and closed. It'll stay that way until the boardwalk is fixed. The city estimates it could take a few months. 

Investigators continue to look into what sparked the blaze. If the person responsible if found they could face criminal charges. 

Venice Fire Chief Shawn Carvey told FOX 13 it doesn't look like arson. 

"When you have the low humidity like we have now, fires can grow rather intense," he said. 

Chief Clinch believes an illegal beach fire spread out of control. 

"This is that time of year where it's our burn season," said Chief Carvey. 

The charred mess left behind now serves as a reminder of how one small fire can quickly spread. 

"Bad things do happen, accidents happen, but this was really poor timing with how things were going with our project," said Clinch.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Newly-built Venice boardwalk destroyed by fire
  • Deputies: Pasco teacher recorded student undressing
  • Man killed in Pinellas Park shooting
  • Porch pirates already on the prowl for holiday packages
  • Victim identified in Pinellas Park homicide
  • Cedar Hammock fire under investigation
  • 72-year-old North Port woman dies after being pushed by husband
  • U.S. Sen. Nelson concedes to Florida Gov. Scott
  • Police search for burglary suspect caught on camera
  • FHP: Motorcyclist killed in Howard Frankland crash