Jul 27, 2014

Gulfport Hardware Owner Charged With Arson After Shop Burns Down

David Cretella is being held in jail without bond.

The owner of Gulfport Hardware faces arson charges in the burning of his own shop, 5006 Gulfport Boulevard South.

David Cretella, 64, of Seminole was booked into the Pinellas County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Cretella, was taken into custody by the Gulfport Police Department, in conjunction with the Division State Fire Marshalls Office Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation (BFAI). Cretella has owned Gulfport Hardware for about seven years.

At 8:23 p.m. Friday night, Gulfport police officers on patrol noticed heavy smoke and flames coming from the hardware store.  

Firefighters fought the blaze for several hours battling the fire and multiple explosions due to paint and chemicals that caught on fire and were being stored on the premises.  

Gulfport Boulevard was shut down until 3 a.m. until the fire was completely out.  Damages are estimated at $600,000.  

There were no reported injuries. The fire marshall's investigation revealed that there were two areas of origin for the fire. Given the timeline of the surveillance video and the rapid succession of the fire suggest that the fire was intentionally set.

BFAI examined the room of origin for accidental causes and could not reveal any accidental causes existed. Additional details of the investigation will not be revealed at this time.

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