SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Two Miami-Dade firefighters were hospitalized Tuesday while battling a brush fire in Southwest Miami-Dade which burned near an apartment complex, a Boy Scout camp, and Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport.
Both firefighters were taken to Baptist Hospital in West Kendall for smoke inhalation, officials said.
The fire was located in the 30-acre Boystown Pineland County Park and Camp Matecumbe located between Southwest 112th and 120th Streets and between SW 137th and 142nd Avenues. According to state forestry officials, the fires, which have burned 40 acres, are 65 percent contained.
Jeanelle Fernandes said she and her family fled their home around 2 a.m. after a neighbor told them about the raging fire.
“We came outside and the fire was so close to our house and it was hot,” said Fernandes. “There were ashes all over and embers. It was hot like an oven because of how close it was. It was kind of traumatic.”
According to Miami-Dade fire officials, the fire started Monday afternoon but an overnight flare-up was fueled by winds of up to 15 mph.
While nobody has been evacuated, officials kept a close watch on an apartment complex, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and School and Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport.
“The biggest concern is the wind. Typically the wind doesn’t blow this hard at night. If we get a wind shift, that could threaten Boystown. There’s an auditorium in Boystown that could be the next threat,” said Miami-Dade Fire Division Chief David Wood early Tuesday morning.
More than 70 firefighters battled the flames from several different directions to keep it from spreading. This is just the start of what could be a very busy dry season for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
“We know it’s going to be drier in the coming months. This fire reached a third alarm meaning there were three times the amount of units for a brush fire of this size,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Captain Luis Fernandez.
Fire crews used a helicopter to drop water on several of the burning sites. Thick black smoke blanketed some areas which concerned neighbors.
“What concerns you,” CBS4 reporter Peter D’Oench asked Ashley Borsten.
“That it can go inside the house through the cracks in the door and even in to cars and we have to breathe it in,” replied Borsten.
“It’s really dangerous for us. We got kids and we live down the block. The smoke is really affecting us,” said George Perez.
Officials don’t think the fire wasn’t started intentionally.