Lawsuit for Breaching Duty to Supply Water Causing Fire to Spread

In Woodbury v. Tampa Waterworks Co., 49 So. 556 (Fla. 1909), the plaintiff alleged that Tampa Waterworks Company breached its contractual duty with the City of Tampa to supply water to the fire hydrants in the immediate area where a fire began, thus causing the fire to spread to plaintiff's property. The Court held that "the duty . . . owed to the plaintiff by virtue of the public service engaged in by the defendant was to supply the hydrants near the plaintiff's property with water as legally required . . . . the plaintiff has no right of action for a failure to furnish water where the plaintiff's property was not located, if such failure was not a proximate cause of the burning of the plaintiff's property." Woodbury, 49 So. at 559. In Arenado v. Florida Power & Light Co., 541 So. 2d 612 (Fla. 1989), the court dismissed review because the lower court's decision did not conflict with those cases. The Court stated: "We now agree that Mugge and Woodbury were predicated upon special language in the Tampa Waterworks' contracts which does not exist here. 'The contract of the water company is the measure of its duty to the property owner.'" Id. at 614 (quoting Mugge, 42 So. at 86).