Editor's Note: Dunedin Patch reader Kevin Donoghue submitted this account about a fire that his son Patrick Donoghue found on Friday, July 6. Kevin Donoghue is also the father of Janet Donoghue, assistant general manager for the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Sonny Thornton, Patrick and I own a building at 533 Main Street across from . Because we didn't need all that space for our office, in 2010, we rented it to Big Frog and moved to [a] space near the Holiday Inn.
Last Friday, Patrick wanted to be sure a letter he had written to a client got mailed that day, so he drove from our office to the mailbox outside City Hall. As he was depositing the letter, he noted smoke and flames coming from what appeared to be the back of the building at 533 Main Street.
He drove around the little triangular block within which City Hall sits. At the intersection of Highland and Main he blew his horn to let others know he was in a hurry and would not be waiting his turn. He quickly parked in front of 533 Main, opened the door and ran in yelling "fire." The receptionist and others were startled as he ran in. Certainly the receptionist, and perhaps others, had no idea who this guy [was] storming in the building, much less anything about a fire. (Unfortunately, was not until the next week, so Patrick did not have his cape with him.)
He ran to the back of the office, where he knew we had stored an extinguisher. Now sensing the fire was not within the building, he opened the back door to discover flames shooting from the dumpster just feet from the building. A wood fence nearby had already caught on fire.
He was able to use the extinguisher to control the fire until the arrived. There was a city employee who had also noted the flames and drove up the back while calling the fire department.
Interestingly, there was a group of 12-year-old "campers" passing by, who probably had the most exciting part of their day.
Just thought the idea of a stranger rushing through a building yelling "fire" might be noteworthy. Jokingly, as landlords, we have told Big Frog that we had told them we would keep an eye on them and the building. Little did they know that this watchful eye might stop the spread of a fire.
Following the incident, Patrick was not given a hero's welcome. I was waiting on him to help move furniture. He had called while on the way to the mailbox and said he would be at my place in two minutes. (We live about 100 yards from the mailbox.) Instead he was 30 minutes late; so naturally, "where have you been?" was my first comment.