By Karli Barnett

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a garage at a Lauderdale Harbors home, and the several luxury cars in it, to go up in flames.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue said they got the call about the fire at the home at 1631 SE 12th Court around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The house’s unusual design was built specifically for car lovers. The entire bottom floor of the home is a garage, while the living area is on the second floor.

More than 50 firefighters were called in to battle the massive blaze. It took about an hour to get the fire under control.

There was no one home at the time of the fire, the homeowners were on vacation.

A neighbor, Barry Zimmerman, said the man who lives there is a car collector and spends the majority of his time out of town. Even from a street over, he says he saw the glow of the fire and smelled burning chemicals.

“Flames were definitely shooting out it, seemed like the majority of the fire was on the west side of the house to the back,” he said “You could smell burning rubber. You could smell burning metal.”

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Batallion Chief Stephen Golan said the fire presented a unique challenge.

“The numerous cars that were down there, the fuel in the garage, the tires, and various other items in the garage,” he said.

The garage also contains lifts to stack cars on top of each other.

“He’s got a 12 car garage. It’s the most of any garage in Broward County,” said Kirk Bauer who sold the home to Tim Schmidt. He said Schmidt lives half of the year in Canada and owns about 100 cars total. He had five in the garage at the time of the fire.

“He had a Lamborghini, a Tesla, he had a nice Harley,” he said.

The vehicles that were destroyed in the fire were a 2013 Nissan GTR, 2016 Bentley Moulsane, 2018 Porsche 911 Special, 1973 VW Thing and a 2018 Tesla Model X.

While it’s not clear what sparked the fire, the Tesla was taken away for inspection.

Karli Barnett

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