Around 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, a fire started in San Marco Square’s Beach Diner restaurant, resulting in damage to five businesses on the strip north of Atlantic Boulevard, directly across from Balis Park. All five businesses were closed for the night, and there were no injuries. San Marco Bookstore, The Write Touch, the Wardroom LTD, Beach Diner, and Seafood Island Bar & Grille sustained damage from the fire and smoke, as well as the water used to douse the flames, and each will be closed temporarily.

Matt Carlucci, a Jacksonville at-large city council member from San Marco and the insurance agent for San Marco Bookstore, arrived once the fire was out to help his clients with their insurance claim. He said the damage could have been much worse if not for the quick action of firefighters at Station 13 just up the block. Firefighters outside noticed the smell of smoke and jumped into action. They were soon joined by other fire crews and together were able to contain the fire and save the building. “It’s good to have Fire Station 13 right up the block,” he said. Of the bookstore, Carlucci said, “The San Marco Bookstore is a very special part of the fabric in San Marco Square. A family owned business, and that’s what I specialize in writing insurance on.”

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Station 13, located on the same block as the affected businesses.

The closures put serious pressure on the businesses going into the holiday season. Additionally, as the fire took place the night of the Florida-Georgia football game the businesses lost the traffic of one of Jacksonville’s busiest weekends. The business owners took to Facebook to update their customers on the situation.

San Marco Bookstore’s owners praised the quick action of the fire crews, and said their store was filled with smoke but that they will “reopen as soon as possible.”

A fire began at one of the businesses on our block last night. Our Jacksonville Fire Station 13 crew smelled the smoke and rushed in. Several other fire crews came together to contain the fire, save our building and businesses without injuries or complete devastation. For us, the bookstore was filled with smoke. We are working to restore everything and we will let you know what’s happening. We will reopen as soon as possible. Thank you for all the kind words and support. See you soon.

The Write Touch, a stationary and gift store that also does wedding planning, noted that their damage was more serious, forcing the store to close until further notice. However, their special orders are still operational via phone and email.

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we let you know that there was a devastating fire in San Marco Square last night. No one was injured but there is debilitating damage done to several of the businesses including The Write Touch. Unfortunately, the Shop will be closed until further notice. But we are still working! All custom orders are fine and will continue to be processed. We are taking special orders and our phones and email are in full operation. As you know this is a critical time of year for our business and its survival. We fully intend to rebuild and continue our services. We will keep you posted on our status throughout this process. Thank you for your patronage, loyalty, and continued support. We look forward to seeing and working with you very soon.

Beach Diner San Marco the day after the fire.

Beach Diner, where the fire began, is one of five restaurants in a local chain. Their owners said on Facebook that they would be closed for a month or so, and that they were working to transfer their employees to their other locations.

Sadly, We sustained fire and smoke damage this evening. We are so grateful that no one was hurt but we will be closed potentially for the next month or so. This restaurant is our home, our livelihood and we have a deep connection to the awesome San Marco community around us. Please know that we are deeply affected by this and are striving to place our wonderful employees temporarily at our 4 other amazing locations. We will be back to serve you the delicious breakfast and lunch that you all have come to know and love as soon as possible. Thank you all so much for your love, support and continued commitment. We truly love you all!!

Seafood Island Bar & Grille did not take fire damage, but experienced some water intrusion. They expect to be open Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Due to unfortunate events of a fire and smoke damage that occurred last night Saturday 11/02/19 at our neighboring restaurant Beach Diner, Seafood Island will be closed Sunday 11/03 and Monday 11/04. We love our San Marco community and ask that you keep Beach Diner in your thoughts. We look forward to serving you soon.

The business owners could not immediately be reached for comment. This story will be updated as information becomes available.

Article by Bill Delaney. Contact Bill at