OPA-LOCKA (CBSMiami) – It could take days for investigators to make their way into a warehouse in Opa-Locka gutted by fire.
Several hours after more than 100 firefighters battled the flames, the fire still smoldered before burning itself out.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said the building may collapse, and the damage is still too hot to send investigators inside.
Chopper4 was over the scene as flames and thick black smoke billowed out of the roof of the building located at 14810 NW 24th Court in Opa-locka. The smoke could be seen for miles.
At first firefighters went inside the warehouse, but soon noticed something that was even more dangerous to them than the fire and smoke. The roof was bowing.
“It’s been determined that the building may collapse and for the safety of our people we’re fighting it from the outside,” said Michelle Fayed with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
The roof eventually did cave in.
Firefighters had to attack the fire from the outside using ladder trucks and an air rescue helicopter to give a visual aid from the sky. Thirty-seven crews in total fought the fire.
In addition to putting out the fire, HAZMAT crews came out because of the toxic smoke. The warehouse stored patio furniture, potentially sending chemicals from plastic and metal into the area.
“We are doing our best to ensure the safety of the residents in the area by having HAZMAT crews on scene to test air qualities,” said Fayed.
Barbie Amador was at work in the business next door when she smelled the smoke.
“There was a lot of smoke. It was incredible. It was scary. They got here really quick and they started taking everybody out,” said Amador.
Despite the quick and heavy response from firefighters, the business owner, and employees fear this will be a total loss.
“They were crying that they lost everything. It was sad,” said Amador.
The business owner, Philip Boulton, of Kannoa Patio Furniture said this is a family business that has been open for two and a half years and he’s grateful it wasn’t worse.
“Thank God everybody is okay, nobody was harmed, everything was material and we’re just concentrating on rebuilding right now.”