Photography stunt the likely cause of fire

Posted at 9:33 AM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 09:33:48-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- The fire that destroyed a historic Everglades building last month was likely caused by a photography stunt called "spinning".

Monroe Station was built in the 1920's as a way station for Everglades travellers, but had been sitting vacant for years.  At least until the structure burned to the ground on April 9th.

Officials with the Big Cypress National Preserve now say a man has confessed to inadvertantly starting the blaze.

Photos: Fire destroys Monroe Station in the Everglades

The man, from South Florida, told rangers after turning himself in on April 11th that he climbed onto the building's roof while men photographed from the ground.  The plan was to do a "spinning" shoot, in which somebody swings a burning piece of steel wool around in an effort to "paint with light."

During the photo shoot, the fire sparked to the building and began to spread.  The men attempted to put it out but were unsuccessful.  They then fled the scene.

An investigation is still under way.

The Monroe Station structure had been was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. Since 2005 the National Park Service had been seeking financial support for the stabilization and restoration of the structure.

The future of the site is now unclear.