Gainesville mobile home burns in electrical fire

Published: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 12:24 a.m.
  • An unattended iron is being blamed for the fire that gutted a single-wide mobile home in northwest Gainesville Tuesday, according to Gainesville Fire Rescue.
    The blaze started at 9:39 p.m. on the back porch where fire investigators said an iron caused an electrical fire, GFR reported. Neighbors said they heard loud popping sounds coming from the mobile home at 3141 NW 9th Terrace as it became engulfed in flames.
    No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.
    GFR said they had not reached the owner of the trailer Wednesday, but several neighbors told GFR the woman who lives there is Barbara Schmitt. The fire caused $10,000 in damage, GFR said.
    - Deborah Ball

    Waldo man charged with rape of teen

  • A Waldo man was arrested late Tuesday after deputies say he raped a 16-year-old girl twice last year.
    Thomas McCary Williams, 45, was arrested on two counts of sexual activity with a minor by a familiar authority for allegedly raping the teenager sometime in January and on Feb. 6, 2005, according to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
    In both incidents, the victim said Williams went into her bedroom, locked the door and shut off the lights and had sex with her against her will, court records show.
    Williams is being held at the Alachua County jail without bond.
    - Deborah Ball

    Police searching for Gainesville robbers

  • Gainesville police are looking for two men they say robbed a couple at gunpoint early Wednesday in northwest Gainesville.
    Candace Churchill, 29, and Andrew Reynolds, 31, were walking home at about 12:45 a.m. when the robbers approached them at the 300 block of NW 12th Street, Sgt. David Rowe said. Armed with handguns, the robbers took Churchill's purse and ran east on NW 3rd Avenue, Rowe said.
    Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call GPD at (352) 334-2400.
    -Deborah Ball

    Casey withdraws from City Commission race

  • Gainesville City Commission candidate Bob Casey announced Wednesday he would withdraw from the race for one of the city's at-large seats due to health concerns.
    Casey, 74, said he needed to take time to deal with complications from adult-onset Type II diabetes.
    "I don't have the physical stamina to conduct a good campaign and, if elected, to serve in office because the City Commission is a pretty demanding position," said Casey, a Republican state representative from 1992 to 2000.
    The announcement leaves Jeanna Mastrodicasa, an administrator at the University of Florida, unopposed for the seat now held by Commissioner Warren Nielsen. Term limits prevent Nielsen from running in the March election.
    Gainesville City Commission elections are nonpartisan, but Alachua County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Stafford Jones said the party was looking for another candidate to challenge Mastrodicasa, a Democrat.
    "I'm sure we'll have somebody in that race," Jones said.
    - Jeff Adelson

    Levy County to host low-cost rabies service

  • BRONSON - Low-cost rabies vaccines will be offered Saturday at the Levy County Animal Services Shelter outside Bronson.
    The $7 shots will be available between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the shelter, which is located off County Road 335 at the landfill. During the vaccination clinic, animal services will be open for dog and cat adoptions. For additional information, contact the shelter at (352) 486-5138 or go to or
    - Karen Voyles

    State: Condemned man not mentally disabled

  • TALLAHASSEE - The state disputed the contention that convicted killer Clarence Edward Hill is mentally disabled on Wednesday.
    Hill, one of two Florida convicts under active death warrants, fatally shot Pensacola police officer Stephen Taylor during a bank robbery in 1982. He is scheduled for execution Jan. 24. His lawyer, D. Todd Doss, argued it would be cruel and unusual punishment to execute Hill, 47, because he is brain damaged and his mental age is under 18.
    - The Associated Press
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