As we were heading back into Key West from Stock Island after yesterday's sailing trip (see post below) we saw a huge cloud of black smoke in the distance. As we got closer, we speculated on what it was, and where it was coming from. (Had Karen left the toaster-broiler oven on?)
When we got into town, we saw that it was a building on White Street. A huge crowd had gathered to watch the firemen try to put it out. June is the time when the tourists have gone for a while, and you see people that you haven't seen for months.
The fire brought a crowd of people from the surrounding neighborhoods out of their air conditioning and away from their TVs. We saw dozens of people we recognized, including Bascom Grooms, current president of the KW Chamber of Commerce, whose real estate office, it turned out, was one of the places burning. An adjacent electronics shop and an exercise studio were also on fire.
The fire department stayed there all night, and today the area was cordoned off. No one was hurt. Our sympathies to those who lost businesses, and we hope that all of you will be able to recover soon.