Early Sunday morning readers notified us of problems at the Walmart on Hillsboro and 441 in Coconut Creek. They saw fire rescue and police vehicles and indicated the store was closed and surrounded by crime scene tape. The store is still closed as of this writing.
We reached out to Walmart as well as to Coconut Creek first responders. We heard back first from Leslie Wright, Senior Media Relations Manager at Walmart’s corporate office in Arkansas. She told us the fire is still under investigation and confirmed the store is still closed. They hope to reopen as soon as possible. She indicated the damage is still being assessed.
The Coconut Creek Police Department referred us to Fire Marshal Jeff Gary of the city’s Fire Rescue team.
He told us that a fire was reported inside the store Sunday morning at 2 am. The fire was mainly on one rack of shelves. Store employees mostly extinguished it and it was almost out by the time Fire Rescue arrived on scene. There was smoke damage to some produce and other open items including clothing.
Mr. Gary told us that the store is now mostly or all cleaned up. They hope to be open late tonight or first thing in the morning.
Cause of the fire is under investigation by CCFR and CCPD.
From the police report:
On 04/10/2016 at approximately 0157 hours, I responded to 5571 Hillsboro Blvd (Walmart) in reference to a fire.
A small fire was extinguished between aisle 17 and 18 of the check-out lanes by Officer Feisthammel and various Walmart employees. Fire Rescue located a large lighter directly in front of the engulfed aisle. Due to the heavy smoke within the store, all of the patrons and employees were evacuated and CCPD locked it down for security purposes. While on crowd control, Officer Bailey was approached by [Name omitted] (age 33). [He] stated his son, [name omitted] (age 6) was possibly to blame. [Omitted] stated while he was checking out in an adjacent aisle, he lost sight of his son and stated he was possibly playing with a lighter. Ofc. Bailey spoke with [the boy] who acknowledged playing with a lighter. [The boy] was crying uncontrollably and stated he was sorry for his actions but did not directly admit to starting the fire.
The assistant store manager … stated Walmart will be able to provide CCTV surveillance in the near future should it be needed. Centeno notified the stores GM … of the incident. Both [managers] are aware of the … family and the actions of the 6 year old. There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire. Photos of the fire were taken and submitted to Foray as evidence. Case cards issued.
The police report indicates the family lives in the Emerald Bay apartments at Boca Entrada (west side of 441 near SW 18th).
Around 10 am today we were tipped off to a situation at Mission Bay Plaza. Readers and friends told us that there was a heavy police presence along with fire trucks. We headed over and took both pictures and video.
The main part of the story is a “suspicious package” that was found in the parking area between TD Bank and Bank of America. You can see a wide version of the scene in our photo at top. It took some time but eventually the Sheriff’s “EOD” team (Explosive Ordnance Disposal or bomb squad) determined that the package was safe to handle. In the sequence of photos below you can see an armored bomb squad member approach it, pick it up, and then start bringing it to their truck along with another team member who is even more heavily armored. PBSO tells us this was not the package in question, but watching it on scene we don’t see what else it could have been.
Another reader agrees with PBSO though:
There was something else made up of an umbrella, some sort of plastic container with a water bottle and some coins.
Please note that all photos in this article are copyrighted by Warren Redlich. Media are welcome to reuse them by simply crediting @WestBocaNews or WestBocaNews.com. Most photos are available in higher resolution just by clicking on them.
There was a lot of police and fire rescue activity around the plaza. A large section of the parking lot and the area around the two banks were evacuated and blocked off by police tape.
The bomb squad truck was in operation near Bank of America.
After the package was secured, the heavily armored bomb squad team member got some help getting the helmet off.
The suspicious package itself just looks like a tool kit:
We asked PBSO for comment:
We received a call from Bank of America, located on Glades Road and 441, of a suspicious package. Deputies arrived evacuated both Bank of America and TD Bank then contained the area until Bomb and Arson arrived. Bomb and Arson arrived checked out the package and determined that there was no threat. Both banks were opened to continue business as usual.
We shot some video at the scene. Here’s our initial report:
Here's our initial report from the scene at Mission Bay this morning. Our full report is coming soon.
Tri-County Animal Rescue and Fire Fighters of Boca Raton Local 1560 unveil:
“Rescuers Who Rescue”, a first-of-its-kind community-centric pictorial keepsake book that shares an inspiring story of community coming together in pursuit of rescue and welfare for all.
Poignant imaging features TCAR and other local rescue pups with Boca fire fighters and community leaders champions an unbridled passion for spreading awareness of animal cruelty and pet rescue and gratitude toward rescuers everywhere.
SNEAK PEEK: Book front and back covers.
LEARN: How the project began, who is featured along with their own heart-full personal rescue missions and stories, pricing and how to purchase.
WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, November 25th, 10:30 a.m. at the Tri-County Animal Rescue campus: 21287 Boca Rio Road, Boca Raton, FL 33433
HIGHLIGHTS: Great visuals and interview opportunities with book author, photographer, collaborators, many of the Boca Raton fire fighters, TCAR board members and volunteers, city and community leaders…and of course rescue pets featured in the book.
WHO: Tri-County Animal Rescue Capital Campaign and the Boca Raton Fire and Paramedic Benevolent Fund Scholarship Program
WHY: Raising awareness and funds for two vital missions. Perfect timing for holiday season and year-round giving for all generations
MEDIA CONTACT: Kaye Communications, Inc. 561-392-5166 — Bonnie S. Kaye, firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: 561-756-3099 — Jon A. Kaye, email@example.com, cell: 561-756-3097
A very serious fire broke out this morning in an apartment building:
***BOCA RATON*** WORKING HIGH-RISE STRUCTURE FIRE — 5622 Wellesley Park Dr (Somerset Place) — Palm Beach County Fire Rescue R500 onscene of a multi-story apartment bldg, heavy flames coming out of the 2nd story spreading up to the 3rd story — Tac 8A
Somerset Place is an apartment complex in the eastern end of Boca Del Mar, near Military Trail between Camino Real and SW 18th.
Fire Rescue requested additional support after the initial alert:
UPDATE: Boca Raton fire is upgraded to a 2nd Alarm, also requesting 4 more Engines and Rescues
A regular reader sent us this video of a car on fire in West Boca. Warning: The video contains strong language not appropriate for children
We are trying to get more information. From what we can tell, the person who originally posted the video is a graduate of West Boca High. The reader who sent it to us, a friend of his, has been a student at both Spanish River and Olympic Heights. As usual we keep sources anonymous unless they request to be identified.
Thanks to our readers and Palm Beach County Alerts for information about this morning’s house fire in Boca Greens Country Club.
***WEST BOCA*** Residential Fire — 19661 Sea Pines Way (Boca Greens CC) — E51 onscene of a 1-story house, advising heavy fire blowing thru the roof, starting fire attack and searches, per neighbors the house is unoccupied, E54 plugging the hydrant — Tac 7A
As best we can tell, the fire may have been started by a lightning strike around 3 am. The “whole back of the house caught fire” and “the back of the roof caved in.”
Fortunately no one was in the house and no injuries have been reported. Property appraiser records show the 2000 square foot home was purchased in June for $257K. The new owner’s mailing address is an apartment in New York City
As always we and our readers appreciate Palm Beach County Fire Rescue for their quick and thorough response.
Update: If we understand correctly, two occupants suffered minor burns.
Black smoke poured out of a Boca Dunes condo earlier this afternoon. We learned of the incident from readers and from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue on Twitter.
As best we understand it, this incident occurred in one of the condo buildings on the west side of Lyons Road near SW 8th Street, south of Palmetto Park Road.
Readers sent us several images including the one at the top of this article. Here are a few of the Fire Rescue team in action:
A couple of readers sent us pictures of the scene from other angles:
Fire Rescue posted a close-up of the aftermath of the fire on Twitter:
As best we can tell there were no serious injuries from this incident. We haven’t seen any reports suggesting otherwise. Fire Rescue was ready with a stretcher:
We know our readers appreciate the quick and thorough response from the Fire Rescue team. We do too.