Investigators unable to determine cause of prior fires at Town ‘n’ Country apartment complex


8 On Your Side Investigates is continuing to dig into the history of the apartment complex where a mother and two children, ages 5 and 10, were killed early Wednesday morning. 

All three were found dead inside the Captiva Club Apartments in the 4500 block of Castaway Drive.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the mother had escaped the unit with another adult, but returned to save her two children. 

This was not the first major fire at the complex. It was the third since 2015. 

However, there was only property damage in the previous fires that occurred in October of 2015 and April of 2018.

8 On Your Side has received the complete investigative reports on the two prior incidents. 

According to the 2018 report, a 12-year-old girl was home alone when she said she heard loud banging.  Next, she told investigators she saw a fire on the patio.

In 2015, a different patio caught fire.

According to the final 2015 report, this time it was a couple celebrating a birthday.  They told investigators they went to bed and awoke to flames.

In each incident, investigators state they were unable to determine an ignition source.  

Both fires were classified as undetermined.

Meantime, a representative from Captiva Club Apartments released a statement which reads in part: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victims… the safety of our residents remains our top priority.”  

Management states they are working with authorities to ensure a complete and thorough investigation.

A search of Hillsborough County’s website found no code violations with the unit that burned down on Wednesday. A county spokesperson said there were no code cases in the nearby units also impacted by the fire.

According to the property appraiser’s website, there are 31 buildings at the complex. All but one were built in the mid 1970s.  

Residents told New Channel 8 about recent electrical work on site.  

A spokesperson for Tampa Electric confirms they’ve recently done work on the property. However, the work was conducted in a separate set of buildings.

The cause of Wednesday’s fire is still under investigation.

8 On Your Side will continue to report on this developing story.

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