FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Firefighters had to brave all the elements to put out the fire at a two-story warehouse at 1400 NW 62nd Street in Fort Lauderdale. In addition to the flames and smoke, they also dealt with intense wind, rain, and lightning.
More than 50 firefighters went to battle in the middle of Tropical Storm Isaac. As Isaac pelted South Florida, firefighters worked to quench the flames shooting out of the roof of the warehouse.
A number of cars, jet skis and other vehicles were parked inside and they feared the gas tanks could erupt making the situation even worse. They also didn’t know what else was in there.
“Anytime you have a large open space like that with zero visibility with firefighters going in, it’s extremely hazardous,” said Fort Lauderdale Deputy Fire Chief William Findlan.
The intense wind made their already tough job that much more difficult. For more than six and a half hours every time the heavy wind rolled through the fire flared up again.
“There were portions of the roof collapsed on the east end of the building, the heavy winds and rain coming from the east pushed the fire toward the west….Once the roof opened up, and once the large bay doors opened up on the east end and exposed the whole warehouse to the wind, the fire became a blow torch,” said Deputy Chief Findlan.
At one point, very close lightning forced firefighters to rush down their ladders.
“We’re exposed to the rain, we’re exposed to the lightning. It’s a matter of judging the danger and obviously we had to be out here.”
Authorities say the wealthy man who owns the warehouse lost some of his personal cars, jet skis and other personal items but firefighters say they managed to keep the damage to just one fifth of the building.
CBS4’s Natalia Zea learned the Broward Sheriff’s Office Swat Team conducts a number of their training exercises in that warehouse. But BSO says the deputies were not there at the time of the fire and none of the vehicles damaged in this fire belonged to the County. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.