By Rich Pollack
A popular beachfront pavilion in Delray Beach that was destroyed in what has been described as a suspicious fire will be rebuilt, but when it will reopen and how much it will cost the city to rebuild it are yet to be determined.
Delray Beach firefighters were called to Atlantic Dunes Park, just north of Linton Boulevard on State Road A1A, at about 3 a.m. on June 28 and discovered the large pavilion engulfed in flames.
Parks and Recreation Director Suzanne Fisher said firefighters were unable to save the pavilion, which collapsed under the heat.
The city plans to rebuild the wooden structure, Fisher said, but is waiting for information from the insurance company before determining when a new pavilion will be built.
“It’s really a gem on Delray Beach,” she said. “It serves such a need.”
Built in 1977, the pavilion was popular with beachgoers, families and others celebrating weddings or family reunions, as well as with visitors who stopped by on a regular basis in the early morning to take in the surroundings.
The city’s only large shelter available for rental on the east side of State Road A1A — just a flight of stairs from the beach — the pavilion brought revenue into the city with rentals costing $110 for two hours and $200 for four hours.
“It was very heavily used,” Fisher said.
As a result of the fire, the city was forced to cancel a number of bookings and offer refunds.
The fire also resulted in the closing of the park because of safety concerns, but Fisher said city crews did an outstanding job of clearing and opening the site in time for visitors to watch the July Fourth fireworks from the beach.
The fire at the pavilion was one of three set that same morning, and fire officials have classified the other two — both not nearly as extensive as the one at Atlantic Dunes — as suspicious.
The Atlantic Dunes fire was investigated by the city and the state Fire Marshal’s Office but the cause remains listed as undetermined.
“It will remain that way until a tip is received,” Delray Beach Fire Rescue Capt. Kevin Saxton said, adding that anyone with information should contact Delray Beach police or Delray Beach Fire Rescue.
By Rich Pollack