Aftermath of the South Beach Arson Spree

By | February 18th, 2011 | 4 Comments

You may have heard about the four abandoned Art Deco buildings that went up in flames in South Beach over the past two weeks. If you live in South Beach, you may have smelled the smoke from your bedroom at 2 a.m. and scurried from your apartment with your wife, cat, guitar, and Charlie Hough rookie card in tow. The Miami Beach police have charged Joel Paul Williams, 33, “a Miami native with a penchant for knives and the word ‘Rage’ tattooed on his abdomen”, with setting one of the fires, and he is the only current person of interest in the arson spree, according to the Herald. With the smoke clearing — hopefully for good — we went out this morning and documented the aftermath of Williams’ alleged pyromania.

Tyler Apartments (420 21st Street; caught fire Feb. 9)

Collins Plaza Hotel (318 20th Street; caught fire Feb. 14)

Copley Terrace Apartments (435 20th Street; caught fire Feb. 15)

1817 James Ave (caught fire Feb. 16)


4 Comments on “Aftermath of the South Beach Arson Spree”

  1. 1 mkhall said at 4:56 pm on February 18th, 2011:

    I can’t help but wonder if these buildings have (had?) protected historic status.

  2. 2 Jordan Melnick said at 11:50 pm on February 18th, 2011:

    godlameroso on Reddit says:

    “I live in South Beach I saw the fires from my apartment. I think someone paid this patsy to set those fires, because the majority of the structures set ablaze were historical properties that the city was dead bent on preserving. Destroying these places would give developers permission to modify the buildings. It happened before, right after Wilma, a historic building that was abandoned caught on fire, and was renovated. That building was in the same condition for 5 years before it ‘caught’ on fire.

    “I’m pretty sure the people who are actually responsible for all this are still at large, I wouldn’t be surprised if police just arrested someone, anyone, to make it seem like they are doing something to stop it.”

    MrPap replies:

    “The police don’t investigate arson. The same people you congratulated for putting out the fire will be the same people ‘just arresting someone, anyone, to make it seem like they are doing something to stop it.'”

    “I will give a big congratulations to the fire department for containing the fires and stopping them from spreading to other buildings. I live less than two blocks away from two of the fires.”

  3. 3 Pierce Hardwood said at 10:10 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    Some coincidence that these builings were owned and kept empty by the same developers.

  4. 4 kayla said at 4:14 pm on February 22nd, 2011:

    DAMN DAWG POOR ART DECO BUILDINGS theyre the most beautiful thing in miami. hopefully they will be restored.


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