‘I have to start again’: Vendors lose everything in Plant City flea market fire

Hillsborough County

PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – Several business owners are recovering from a fire that destroyed their businesses over the weekend.

Intense flames ripped through the “Plant City Farm and Flea Market” Saturday night, destroying three buildings and everything inside.

According to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, no one was hurt.

Ferris Waller, the owner of the wholesale market estimated the total loss to be nearly $250,000, and said years ago, he experienced a similar loss after a fire.

On Monday, crews cleaned up the charred mess left behind.

The loss is also devastating for several vendors who rented space, and lost everything.

“A lot of people, they live from day to day. So we’re trying to get some accommodations to find them somewhere they can at least operate out of,” said Waller.

“Saturday afternoon I brought like eight pallets of tomatoes and put them in there. Saturday night they were gone,” said Jose Hernandez, with Hernandez and Son Produce.

Hernandez estimates he lost at least $20,000 in produce and equipment.

Now just before the holidays, he is left trying to recover from the massive financial loss.

“All of the money that I spent buying all that produce is gone. I have to start again,” said Hernandez.

“I reckon life goes on. It’s just going to be a real struggle for them,” said Waller.

Due to a lack of hydrants in the area, HCFR had to shuttle in water to fight the flames.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but not presumed to be intentional, according to HCFR.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss