Fatal Fire

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

A second body was found inside an apartment complex on Panama City Beach destroyed by a fire early Sunday morning.

Firefighters and investigators found the second body late Sunday night and are still waiting for the medical examiner to confirm the identity.

The neighbors at the Crystal Beach Apartments are cleaning up, but not moving on, each one consoling the other about this weekend's tragic events. A second body was found late Sunday night and although the investigators are waiting for the medical examiner to confirm the identity, the neighbors know who's missing in the crowd.

Marie Shierling lived directly above 64-year-old Michael Nesbit who was killed in the fire. No one could find her when the fire was out.

Ken Polk lives in the building directly next to where the fire started. His son first noticed the fire and woke everyone up.

"He came out and saw that this building was on fire and he woke us up and we got out and the far two units was already pretty well involved with fire. This lady Amy and her daughter, we saw them start to come down. The daughter climbed down and Amy jumped or fell down, her ankle was broken."

Lt. Les Nelson with the fire marshal's office says they are working closely with the Bay County Sheriff's Office and Fire Department during the investigation of this fire.

"The Fire Department did a fantastic job, not only getting there quickly, but getting as many of the residents out of their apartments quickly, so the least number of people were injured and unfortunately we had two fatalities."

They are waiting for debris evidence to return from a forensics lab that could help determine the cause of the fire, but while the investigation continues, the remains of four apartments are left still.

"Unfortunately we aren't able to tear down the building immediately and construct four new apartments overnight, so that debris will be there until the investigation is complete."

It would be easy to say that everyone knew their neighbors, so when a fire tore through an entire building destroying four apartments, this community saw itself torn apart. Even the First Responders noticed a difference in this area.

"Just dealing with this grief could be a long process and everyone has to stick together. What I saw last night at that apartment complex is why I live in Bay County."


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
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