South Florida

2 Hurt in Fire at La Fondita Restaurant in Homestead

Two people had to be airlifted to the hospital Friday after a Homestead family business was leveled by an explosion early Friday morning.

Rescue crews were called to the scene of the La Fondita Restaurant at 219 Southwest Sixth Avenue in Homestead just before 6:30 a.m.

Fire officials said Alfredo Serrano, 64, and his daughter-in-law, Odelia Mondragon, walked in to open the business in the morning, probably flipped on the lights and that's all it took: an ignition source to spark the propane explosion, a blast that could have killed them.

"There probably was a leak through the evening and all night,obviously, charged the whole building, about 500 square feet, and they came in, some ignition source, contact with the gas and a massive explosion," said Alfie Hernandez of Miami-Dade Fire.

Both Serrano and Mondragon were airlifted to Regional Medical Center. Serrano suffered second and third degree burns and is in the intensive care unit.

His grandson was on hand to survey the damage along with his grandmother.

"It's a family restaurant, been open for years for it to go down in flames really hurts. We've had this restaurant for many years it's a tragedy to see it all go to waste," said Davie Espinoza , the owner's grandson.

"So many years and so much effort to build this business," said Balbena Serrano, who owned La Fondita with her husband, Alfredo Serrano.

The building is a total loss, but the family does have insurance so they are hoping to rebuild and start over. In the meantime, it's tough for the family to digest the sudden loss.

"I worked here when I was a kid, all through elementary, middle school, high school," said Espinoza.

The restaurant, which specializes in Mexican food, has been in business for about 15 years.

Espinoza says his grandfather and aunt are expected to be okay, but will likely be in the hospital at least until Monday.

Investigators will have to bring in heavy equipment to get to the source of the propane leak.

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