Roman Candles Start Building Fire

Local investigators say people shooting fireworks Monday night accidentally set fire to an abandoned building on East 15th Street just west of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

When Panama City firefighters arrived at the scene around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, flames had already covered the roof of the old building, which formally housed the local probation and parole offices.

It didn’t take long for the fire to spread to other parts of the building.

Firefighters managed to contain it, but not before the building suffered extensive fire, smoke and water damage.

Fire Department investigators say someone nearby was shooting Roman Candles, and some of the sparks got on the roof, igniting dry leaves and branches.

To complicate matters, Panama City Police say a man crashed his car into a police car blocking part of East 15th Street so firefighters could battle the flames.

The police car was totaled. The driver went on to hit a fire truck. He was then taken to a local hospital where he was treated and then released several hours later.