Two Injured in Explosion and Fire in Laundry Room at Tamarac Apartment Building

Pair burned and blistered after explosion in laundry room, cause being investigated

By Claudia DoCampo and Brian Hamacher
|  Friday, Jul 12, 2013  |  Updated 2:17 PM EDT
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Two men say they're lucky to be alive after an explosion and fire in a laundry room in a Tamarac apartment building. Anthony Middleton and Jamal James and witnesses comment.

Two men say they're lucky to be alive after an explosion and fire in a laundry room in a Tamarac apartment building. Anthony Middleton and Jamal James and witnesses comment.

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Two Injured in Laundry Room Explosion and Fire in Tamarac

Two men were injured in a laundry room explosion and fire at an apartment building in Tamarac. Victim Jamal James and Fire Rescue spokesman Eric Viveros comment.
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One man was hospitalized and another injured after an explosion and fire inside a laundry room at an apartment building in Tamarac late Thursday night.

The incident happened at the Vicaya Villa apartments at 10132 North Nob Hill Circle, as the two were doing laundry.

Anthony Middleton said he and his cousin-in-law, Jamal James, put money in a drier, turned it on and were injured when a fireball came from the area.

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"We smelled gas but we didn't know where it was coming from so we still put the clothes in the drier and pressed the button and it came on and as soon as we walked up it was on fire," Middleton said.

James, 20, suffered burns to the back of his neck, his back and the back of the legs. Middleton, 16, was blistered by the fire.

"When I get the flame on me, I was thinking like, 'I'm shocked,' I don't know what to do," James said, after his release from the hospital. "I'm really lucky that we're alive, I'm really lucky and thank God that we're alive."

Both said that the force of the explosion was so great that it blew the laundry room door off its hinges.

Tamarac Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Eric Viveros said firefighters quickly responded to the fire.

"We found a small fire in the laundromat and it was behind a drier which are gas fed driers, we secured the gas,"  Viveros said.

Viveros said gas-fed driers can be dangerous if not properly maintained, and fire investigators would be probing the cause of the fire.

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