Fires around the island, vandalism at South Beach reported

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The Coral Creek fire Photo provided

Several incidents kept area firefighters busy over the Memorial Day weekend, but none of them were on Gasparilla Island. We did have one crime report, though.

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 23 firefighters from Charlotte County were battling a brush fire that burned more than 100 acres just northwest of Coral Creek Golf Course and Coral Creek Airport. No homes or people were in danger at any time. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but there was some speculation that lightning had started a fire the night before and it had been smoldering overnight.

On Sunday, May 24 a fire that completely destroyed a Knight Island home killed two people, a mother and son. Cheryl and Jake Stevens, who both had ties to the island. Their identities were confirmed on Tuesday. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The home was essentially a total loss and fully engulfed prior to firefighters arriving on the scene.

Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of vandalism on Gulf Boulevard on Gasparilla Island on Saturday, May 23.

According to one of the owners of South Beach Restaurant, some time between the hours of 1 a.m. and 10 a.m. that morning someone drove around the restaurant to the back patio area and ran over a black propane-powered tiki torch, which resulted in approximately $500 worth of damage.