News

Couple escaped early morning house fire, cat died

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A fire ripped through a home which belongs to man and his wife around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

It happened at a house in the 1500 block of Lightsey Road in St. Augustine.

James Little with the State Fire Marshal's office said the husband went to bed around 12:30 a.m. and the smoke detector went off around 4:30 a.m. The wife was at work at the time of the fire.

The husband was able to get out of the house but the couple's cat died. The woman said that the cat was "irreplaceable."

The couple will stay in a hotel for the time being.

Investigators with the State Fire Marshal's office have some theories about the cause but will not release them yet.

St. Augustine welcomes long-awaited detox center

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Starting this month, St. Johns County will shed its dubious distinction as Florida's largest county without a drug and alcohol detox facility.

On Wednesday, January 22 EPIC Recovery Center will host a grand opening of a 16-bed facility to treat drug and alcohol dependent patients in crisis. The detox center, located on US 1 South, will operate 24/7 with 12 detoxification beds and four residential treatment beds, and will consist of a team of nurses, trained substance abuse professionals and doctors.

According to Patti Greenough, EPIC CEO, "the mental clarity, emotional stability, and improved physical condition provided by a drug and alcohol detox will allow for more active participation in the daily requirements of a client's rehabilitation program."

Zora Neale Hurston, 'Greek tragedy of Florida history'

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Zora Neale Hurston was an author and anthropologist who helped preserve African American culture.

Tuesday marked 123 years since she was born. Google's Google Doodle - or header -- honored the author Tuesday.

Historian David Nolan said, "In the 1930s, she published more books than any black woman had ever published in American history."

Her book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" may be the most well known of her novels, anthropology books and many other writings.

Born in Florida in 1891, she moved to Jacksonville to live with her brother. She lived in St. Augustine at two different times in her life. While in St. Augustine in 1942, "she became great friends Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of "The Yearling,"" Nolan explained.

Hurston lived in the second story of a house on West King Street in St. Augustine. There, she completed her autobiography "Dust Tracks on a Road."

Two Spanish tall ships dock in St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The 17th century replica ship named El Galeon came back into St. Augustine early this morning.

It now sits right next to another tall ship, a 16th century replica ship called the Nao Victoria.

St. Augustine is the North American home port for both ships.
This is the first time the two have been docked next to each other on the First Coast.

El Galeon -- the bigger ship -- will be in town for about six months and will open for tours in a couple of days.

Five teens injured, one teen captured

UPDATE:  1/6/14 - 2:52 p.m. -- The sixth suspect was located by detectives walking on Heritage Park Drive late Monday morning, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

UPDATE:  1/6/14 - 12:11 p.m. -- The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office reported that the incident included three males and two females between the ages of 15-18. They were all transported to Flagler Hospital.

In addition, police are searching for a 14-year-old suspect who fled the scene.

Police confirmed at least one car burglary at a residence in the 700 block of E. Red House Branch Road.

Weapons were located at the scene of the crash along with additional property believed to be from other car burglaries.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- According to police, five teenagers are recovering after an overnight crash on Woodlawn Road near Heritage Park Drive.

Lightner Museum's hidden treasures

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- If your new year's resolution is to add some culture to your life, don't think it has to be boring. Head to a museum and you may hear some wild tales, says Harriet Baskas, author of Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You (Globe Pequot, $19.95). "People are more than happy to tell you if you just ask," she says.

Historic, damaged St. Augustine seawall renovated

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) -- A St. Augustine seawall built between 1837 and 1846 has been renovated and will soon be open to the public.

The wall was damaged by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and parts of it collapsed during Tropical Storm Gabrielle in 2001. Over the last 50 years, the wall's coquina rock had steadily deteriorated.

The St. Augustine Record reports legislators secured a $4.7 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant and the city contributed a $1.6 million match.

The seawall has long been a part of St. Augustine's history; it replaced one the Spanish built in 1696 that was torn down in 1837.

The new wall was built 13 feet out into the Matanzas River and leaves the 1846 wall intact but protected.

A public ceremony will be held on Feb. 7.