OPA-LOCKA, FLA. (WSVN) - One day after dozens of vehicles were burnt to a crisp in Opa-locka, the owner of the vehicles described the heart-wrenching hours he spent helplessly hearing about the fire as it destroyed his entire inventory.
Tuesday morning, smoke could still be seen oozing out of burnt vehicles, now melted and charred together in a large parking lot.
“I lost everything,” said Luis Marcos, who was in Tampa when he received a call that there was a fire on the Opa-locka property he rents from American Fruit and Produce, located on 42nd Avenue, near 129th Street.
Marcos owns a local towing company and rents a portion of the lot to store his cars and tow trucks.
“I’m going crazy,” he said, clearly emotional. “Imagine, you’re somewhere so far away, and there’s nothing you can do.”
There was absolutely nothing he could do as the flames took over his cars, SUVs, trucks and boats. All but one of the vehicles were uninsured.
One explosion after another, witnesses said, sent nearby drivers and pedestrians desperately fleeing the area for safety.
“The fire was about 20 feet high,” said nearby business owner Frank Hernandez. “It was a loud explosion, and a lot of people were running for cover.”
Out of the dozens of vehicles Marcos lost, the one that hurts him the most is what used to be his 2010 Chevy Corvette, which he spent nearly $40,000 customizing. Now, all that remains of the unrecognizable vehicle is its burnt skeleton.
“All the years that I’ve been working for, it’s right there, burned,” Marcos said.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has not determined an official cause of the fire, but Marcos told 7News he knows exactly what happened. “Apparently, somebody was welding there and everything exploded, and then the air blew the fire and burnt everything that I have. Everything.”
Although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Marcos is convinced firefighters weren’t called right away by those responsible for starting the fire.
Furthermore, some witnesses told 7News they even saw mechanics running away from the lot.
Marcos said he is not sure just how much he lost or what he will do next, but he will try to stay as positive as he can. “I lost everything right here, but to start, I don’t know. I’ll keep working. Try to build everything back from scratch again. What can I do?”
The good news is that no one was injured, and crews were able to contain the fire because the foam truck they used was so nearby, right at the Opa-locka Airport.
The investigation remains ongoing.
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