MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The owners of a laundromat near Northwest 7th Street and Northwest 23rd Avenue said their business is a total loss after fire tore through the building Friday night.

The fire started about 5:30 p.m. Mariela Machado was working when she says she saw smoke coming from the ceiling.

“She tried to open the dryers to see if it came from the dryers. She didn’t see fire from the dryers. She just saw it from the vent,” said Maria Gallardo, the owner’s wife, adding, “Thank God she was fast and took everybody out of the laundry. There’s only about four or five people there.  She called the cops from across the street and they came rushing.”

Firefighters fought the stubborn flames for hours, attacking the fire from the ground and from above.  They even cut through a fence to get a ladder truck closer to the fire.

“The challenge is that some chemicals were supposedly found inside the building forcing firefighters to back out,” explained Lt. Ignatius Carroll with Miami Fire Rescue. “You’re also dealing with vents for the dryers which, once the flames get in there combined with lint that could possibly be inside the vents, then that fire gets to travel throughout the rest of that building,” he continued.

Neighbors watched nervously as fire crews worked to get the fire under control.  “We live right there,”worried Evelyn Rivera. “What if it explodes?”

By the time the fire was out, the owners said the laundromat was a total loss.  “The employees here are going to be out from a job for a while especially now at Christmas. It’s very sad,” said Gallardo.

Still she said she’s thankful no one was hurt in the fire.


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