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A warehouse in Opa-Locka, Fla., caught fire on May 21, prompting an investigation by local authorities. The fire broke out just before 7 p.m., when warehouse owner Jack Labissiere was reportedly filling a tire with air.
"I was putting air in the tire, I hear the compressor cut off, and when I opened the door, there was already a fire inside," Labissiere told WSVN News.
It is unclear if any industrial fire alarms or smoke detectors were in place, which could have alerted the warehouse owner to the fire that was already blazing around him.
Labissiere then attempted to extinguish the flames himself, but was unsuccessful. He soon began shouting for help, gaining the attention of Joseph Nelson and Anthony Alcindor, employees of a neighboring party rental store. The two men ran to the warehouse, where they could see smoke and flames engulfing the building, and could hear someone screaming for help. They rushed in to the building, which housed goods that were bound for Haiti.
"We didn't know what was inside. If it was hazardous material, chemical. We didn't know what it was," Alcindor said. "I was kind of nervous going in, but someone had to do it, and we did it."
When they found the warehouse owner, he was attempting to put out the fire with his hands. Nelson then ran outside to retrieve a fire extinguisher. Miami-Dade firefighters then arrived on the scene and took over, suppressing the fire, although the flames remained active inside.
Everything inside the warehouse was destroyed, but no injuries were sustained, and other businesses in the area remained open, largely unaffected.
The next day, the Miami-Dade Fire Department could be seen carrying debris from inside the warehouse. Investigators have determined that the fire was accidental, and was caused by an over-loaded power strip.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.