Crews Contain Blaze, Potential Building Collapse in Opa-locka

Investigators say they've determined where a fire started at an Opa-locka warehouse Thursday, but they are still working to determine why the fire started in the first place.

Miami-Dade Fire officials now say the fire that ripped through the Kannoa Outdoor furniture warehouse, located at 14810 Northwest 24th Court, started in a small warehouse room and quickly spread throughout the 30,000 square foot warehouse.

"Once the wind got a hold of it, because a window broke and there was a door open, that just pushed the fire across the whole building" Lieutenant Doug Keller of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue explained.

Fire rescue crews managed to get that huge warehouse fire under control late Thursday morning using more than 1 million gallons of water. Hazmat crews were also dispatched amid the possibility of a building collapse.

Crews remained on the scene overnight and into Friday.

"The buildings on each side, we've had to advise them to keep their employees several feet away from this building because there is still the possibility of a collapse" said Keller.

Chopper 6 was overhead Thursday as large plumes of smoke were seen billowing from warehouse. The flames also damaged some cars in the parking lot.

According to MDFR, 16 units were on the scene battling the blaze. Firefighters were forced out of the building amid concerns that the building could have collapsed.

It took about 200 firefighters several hours to put it out. It wasn't completely out Thursday evening but a crew was staying overnight to monitor the building, officials said.

"Firefighters were pulled out and forced to fight this fire from a defensive position from the outside" said Lt. Arnold Piedrahita of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

Employee Claudia Mejia told NBC 6 South Florida that she and her fellow coworkers were all able to make it out of the building safely, but that witnessing the fire was devastating.

"We work so hard to make the company grow. We're a family," said Mejia. "It's just heartbreaking to see all our hard work and effort go up in smoke, literally."

The company manufactures outdoor furniture, and the smell of burning wood furniture, all-weather wicker and plastics filled the air.  Firefighters are warning people to avoid the area as the air has become toxic in the aftermath of that fire.

"Thank God everybody is okay, nothing, nobody was harmed, everything was material and we are just concentrating on rebuilding right now," owner Philip Boulton said.

The fire remains under investigation.

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