OPA-LOCKA, FLA. (WSVN) - Crews were able to contain a massive fire that sparked in the parking lot of a business located in a warehouse area of Opa-locka and consumed dozens of vehicles, Monday afternoon.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the two-alarm blaze in a section of the American Fruits and Produce Company property, near Northwest 42nd Avenue and 128th Street, just south of Opa-locka Airport.
Fire rescue officials said the blaze sparked in a section of the property that had been subdivided into smaller lots. They said this was a storage area for big rigs.
7SkyforceHD hovered above the fire as firefighters sprayed foam and water on the burning tractor trailers, cars and SUVs.
Officials said calls came in reporting explosions at the warehouse and advising there were propane tanks inside.
“They say it was like a volcano, and it was a lot of explosions, a lot of people running for cover,” said a witness.
“Everyone was desperately trying to run away, because it was getting ugly,” said Frank Abad, who works nearby, speaking through a translator. “The smoke could be seen from miles away.”
Flames raced through acres of parked cars and trucks, sparking one explosion after another. Cameras captured one tractor trailer suddenly bursting into flames as crews attempted to prevent the fire from continuing to spread.
Officials said the blaze was confined to the vehicles. “The contents of these trucks is unknown. We’re not sure if they had anything in them, but we were aware there was fuel in the vehicles,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesperson Maggie Castro.
Heavy smoke could be seen from miles away. A photo taken from a nearby highway captured a large, dark cloud billowing into the sky.
“It looked pretty intense,” said a witness. “You could feel the heat for a little bit.”
Among the vehicles affected were tow trucks, box trucks, 18-wheelers and at least one boat. Officials have not specified exactly how many vehicles were affected, but according to reports, possibly two dozen cars and about 10 or 11 tractor trailers were destroyed.
“I haven’t heard about anybody that got seriously injured,” said another witness. “That’s always a good thing.”
Just after 5:30 p.m., officials said at least 22 units responded to the scene, with more on the way. Crews were seen putting out small fires and preventing hot spots from sparking.
“Luckily, we have no reports of any significant injuries,” said Castro.
Witnesses who work nearby said crews were able to bring the fire under control quickly, despite a number of trucks parked tightly together.
Left in the wake of the fire were dozens of charred, nearly unrecognizable vehicles. “I was not scared, but I was worried that something could happen, blow up to my business and catch on fire,” said business owner Francisco Hernandez, “because it was an impressive fire and a lot of explosions. A lot. Big explosions.”
Opa-locka Airport officials said no flights were affected. Just after 5:15 p.m., officials confirmed all runways were open.
Authorities said visibility on the roadways became an issue as crews battled the flames. “Because of the thick smoke, and the amount of fire and the amount of firefighters who responded, our main concern at that point was traffic and to get everyone to safety,” said an Opa-locka Police spokesperson.
Officers shut down Northwest 42nd and 37th avenues, from 119th Street to 135th Street. Those roadways were later reopened.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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