Fire Updates

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Fire officials are wrapping up their investigations into two large fires in just three days. Both happened at apartment complexes, one of them proving to be deadly.

Authorities with the state fire marshal's office say burning candles or a lit cigarette were most likely responsible for Sunday's fire at a Panama City Beach condo complex.

The fire started around 1:30 Sunday morning at the Crystal Lake Condominiums gutting four units. The fire killed Eugene Nesbit and the medical examiner has not released the identity of the second victim believed to be missing, resident Marie Shierling.

State fire marshal's investigators believe the fire started in Nesbit's unit, then spread upstairs to Shierling's home. The fire marshal's office says the autopsies so far have not shown anything suspicious. They are still waiting for forensic lab results to confirm the findings.

Friends have set up an account for Patrick Shierling who lost his mother and all his belongings in the fire. Donations can be made to the Coastal Community Bank in his or his mother's name.

The other fire occurred around 4:00 Monday afternoon at Turtle Lake Apartments in St. Andrews. Investigators believe that fire started in a heating unit in one of the two middle apartments, then spread quickly to affect a total of four apartments.

No one was hurt. Firefighters were able to hold the damages to about 50 percent of the units, and residents will be able to salvage most of their possessions, but they won't be able to live in the apartment for a while.