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Wednesday, December 01, 2021
METRO  |  CRIME

Butler Plaza stores evacuated after rooftop fire

<p>Gainesville Fire Rescue works to put out a fire on about 60 of the solar panels of a Butler Plaza Best Buy storage unit. The cause of the fire is under investigation.</p>

Gainesville Fire Rescue works to put out a fire on about 60 of the solar panels of a Butler Plaza Best Buy storage unit. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Authorities evacuated patrons and pets from the Butler Plaza Best Buy and PetSmart stores Monday afternoon after rooftop solar panels caught fire.

Gainesville Fire Rescue responded to reports of a fire just after 2 p.m., said Incident Commander Pat Lewis. Emergency personnel from GFR, Alachua County Fire Rescue and Gainesville Police arrived a few minutes later, and the fire was hosed out by 2:19 p.m.

No humans or animals were injured in the fire.

Lewis said the scene was filled with “heavy smoke and flames.” About 60 of the solar panels on a Best Buy storage facility roof caught fire, he said, but the cause is still under investigation.

Best Buy incurred minor water damage from the hose water leaking inside, but no other damages were reported at the time, he said.

Customers and employees were let back inside the store just after 3 p.m.

“We did two hours with zero revenue, so I have to make sure we stay as busy as possible,” said Brenda Banales, a store manager. She declined to comment further and referred reporters to Best Buy’s corporate offices.

While waiting for the stores to reopen, one bystander joked the incident could be good for business.

“Come to Gainesville,” he said. “We have the hottest deals.”

A version of this story ran on page 1 on 11/5/2013 under the headline "Butler Plaza stores evacuated after rooftop fire"

Gainesville Fire Rescue works to put out a fire on about 60 of the solar panels of a Butler Plaza Best Buy storage unit. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

PetSmart employees and dogs stand in the parking lot after evacuating Monday while Gainesville Fire Rescue and Alachua County Fire Rescue work to extinguish the fire.

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