A fire gutted a warehouse owned by Dean Johnson Music on Wednesday morning, destroying an undisclosed amount of inventory, according to firefighters.
About 30 firefighters battled the fire for two hours before extinguishing the blaze. Five fire stations— two from Zephyrhills and three from Pasco County Fire Rescue — responded.
The fire started about 11 a.m. in the back of the building at the corner of 16th Avenue and Eighth Street that once was the location of the Big Kids Korner School Age Center. No one was injured and firefighters have not determined the cause of the fire.
Zephyrhills Fire Lt. Kerry Barnett described the building as a “man killer.” He said the building was so heavily packed with inventory that firefighters had trouble getting inside to battle the blaze.
Firefighters poured water through windows, waiting for the fire to break through the roof where it could be extinguished from above. The concrete walls were high, leaving little room for getting water through the eaves, Barnett said.
“It’s a big hot box with four concrete walls.” Barnett said, “We did what we could do.”
“The amount of storage is something that should have been caught on a fire inspection,” Barnett said. “The bottom line is that if there had been someone doing regular inspections, the storage would not be at the point it was today,” he said.
Candy Lawrence, office manager for the music company, responded: “The last [fire] inspection we passed with flying colors,” noting that they corrected any violations cited.
Dean Johnson, 50, owner of Dean Johnson Music, started the business in his home and has been in business on North Avenue for about 10 years offering music lessons, selling instruments and other music supplies.
He purchased the warehouse about three years ago to store supplies and other music-related items that he bought and sold on eBay. Drum lessons were also held in the building. He declined comment on the amount of supplies, musical instruments and other inventory lost in the fire.
“God is in control,” said Johnson as he watched the firefighters extinguish the fire. “He allows everything for a purpose.”
Johnson added that he was better off than others, such as the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. “You have to have an eternal perspective,” he said. “This too shall pass, my mom always used to say.”