Arson Suspected at Homestead Home Depot

By Gilma Avalos
|  Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013  |  Updated 6:57 AM EDT
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Investigators are looking into a fire that ripped through a Homestead Home Depot Tuesday. Miami-Dade Fire's Lt. Arnold Piedrahita comments.

Investigators are looking into a fire that ripped through a Homestead Home Depot Tuesday. Miami-Dade Fire's Lt. Arnold Piedrahita comments.

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Arson Suspected at Homestead Home Depot

Home Depot employees were forced to evacuate from their Homestead store as a second-alarm fire left the building structurally unsafe Tuesday, authorities said. NBC 6's Gilma Avalos reports.

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Authorities were investigating whether a fire at Home Depot in Homestead was arson.

Employees were forced to evacuate the store as a second-alarm fire left the building structurally unsafe.

Arson investigators from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade Police are at the store at 13855 Southwest 288th Street, where the fire was contained early Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

There were no injuries, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said.

Detectives said they want to talk with a male suspect, approximately 45 to 50 years old, who was driving a gray, four-door Toyota with license plate BBGL13.

155 firefighters responded to the fire. Detectives are processing the scene to determine whether a crime was committed, police said.

Witnesses said the fire started in the paint aisle, with a mix of flames and chemicals a lethal combination.

But structural engineers have to determine that the building is safe enough for people to return inside before the investigation within Home Depot can continue.

“Hazardous materials are burning in there,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Arnold Piedrahita Jr. said. “Anything that catches fire inside of a Home Depot is going to emanate toxic gases, so we have to make sure that there’s nothing dangerous in there. We’re not going to put lives at risk to save hardware goods.”

Police ask anyone who was inside the store at the time of the fire to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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