TradeWinds Resort guests left waiting for hours on St. Pete Beach after morning fire

An early Tuesday morning fire displaced several guests who said they had to wait up to four hours on the beach before they were put in a room. What guests thought was going to be a relaxing vacation has been anything but that. 

They said the communication between the TradeWinds Resort on St. Pete Beach and those displaced hasn't been great and feel staff could have done more to help. Flames and smoke could be seen billowing from one of the buildings around 2:30 Tuesday morning. 

"Woke up to the fire alarms going off. We crack the door. Smoke started coming, billowing in the door, looked down to our left. There was actual flames," guest Carrie Goodgames said.

According to fire rescue, an exploding AC unit at the TradeWinds Breckenridge Tower caused the fire. Several dozen guests were evacuated from all seven floors of the building and told to wait on the beach, where Dawn Hudgins said they sat for the next four hours.

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"There were a lot of elderly and children outside. And I asked for water. A security guard brought me two bottles of water. So I got into one of the tiki huts, moved the ice buckets away, and started giving people water," Hudgins said.

By 7 a.m, she said they were moved into the lobby, where they waited for another hour until staff began calling people up to get them rooms.

"It just kept dragging on. The lady kept passing us. I think she forgot about us because we finally had to flag her down," Goodgames said. "I said, my lungs are hurting this and that. She said, We're all tired and just dismissed it."

Goodgames who's visiting from Northern Kentucky owns a timeshare at the resort with the company Bluegreen. Around 8 a.m., when she was put in another room she's said it wasn't at all comparable to the gulf front view she paid for and asked for a partial refund to off set the costs, but was told to contact Bluegreen instead TradeWinds. When she called Bluegreen she said she was told to call TradeWinds.

"I just felt very unsupported and just dismissed," Goodgames said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Goodgames said she was finally put in room more comparable to the one she paid for.

A spokesperson for TradeWinds released the following statement: 

"Once again, we are first and foremost thankful there were no reported injuries and that all of our guests and staff were evacuated quickly and diligently. Thank you to the local authorities.  The team moved quickly to ensure the safety of everyone involved – TradeWinds security was on the scene immediately while executive staff, even those that were scheduled off, arrived to assist on property within the hour. The Breckenridge building that was affected is a Bluegreen-owned timeshare building, but the TradeWinds staff assisted with securing rooms and provided shelter, food, drinks and any other necessities for guests at the nearby Pavilion building during the incident. While it was an emergency situation, the team was calm, reacted quickly and assisted all guests with relocation to the TradeWinds properties, which was complete within hours. Bluegreen is working direct with guests on any compensation or guest issues."

Goodgames said she hopes moving forward the resort has better communication with guests during situations like what happened Tuesday morning.