Miami Archbishop Wenski to Bless New Offices of Travel Agency Torched by Arsonist

Company that had offices destroyed by fire opens up at new location

By Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Jun 28, 2012  |  Updated 9:29 AM EDT
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Authorities are investigating a fire in a Coral Gables office building that specializes in plane charters to Cuba. Vivian Mannerud, who owns Airline Brokers Company Inc., speculated that the fire's cause is related to the controversy surrounding the international flights.

Authorities are investigating a fire in a Coral Gables office building that specializes in plane charters to Cuba. Vivian Mannerud, who owns Airline Brokers Company Inc., speculated that the fire's cause is related to the controversy surrounding the international flights.

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A Miami travel agency that charters flights to Cuba is hoping for some divine protection as it opens a new office space Thursday, two months after a deliberately set fire destroyed their previous spot.

Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski will be on hand to bless the new offices of Airline Brokers Company Inc. Thursday afternoon at 2525 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables.

Authorities say the company's old spot, at 815 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, was torched by arson on April 27.

The blaze began after a piece of pavement was thrown through the office window with an incendiary device, authorities said. Fire officials later found a disposable lighter outside the office.

The company, which has operated for almost 30 years, charters seven flights to Cuba each week, primarily out of Miami International Airport. It had just transported hundreds of South Florida Catholics to see Pope Benedict XVI in Cuba.

Company owner Vivian Mannerud told NBC 6 back in April that she speculated the fire was related to the controversy surrounding the international flights.

"There are people who are just against anything that has to do with Cuba," she said.

The FBI is still investigating the fire.

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