A three-alarm fire destroyed an Opa-Locka warehouse early Sunday morning.
Firefighters are still battling the blaze, which broke out around 5:30 a.m. at the Brelex Party Rentals warehouse near NW 47th Avenue and 128th Street.
"We had just over 24 units, approximately 100 firefighters to battle this three-alarm fire," said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue battalion chief Ray Jadallah. "It took us three-and-a-half hours just to get the fire under control."
Officials said the 45,000-foot warehouse was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived. The structure collapsed, and the building is a total loss.
Jadallah said firefighters expect to continue investigating into the night and for at least 2 more days. He said one firefighter was injured while fighting the blaze, and was taken to Palmetto Regional Hospital's Emergency Room for treatment.
The plume of smoke coming out of the warehouse was seen for miles, and fire rescue officials said a driver on Gratigny Parkway called 911.
Atala Velasquez and her husband own Brelex Party Rentals. After more than 20 years in the party rental business, she's overwhelmed to see so many years of hard work come crumbling down.
"There aren't words," Velazquez said in Spanish. "There's nothing. Nothing left."
Jairo Barrios is also at a loss for words. He's been a Brelex client for several years and often works with the company's event designers.
"I know him from the beginning, from zero," Barrios said. "So now to see everything devastated is like, oh my God."
One employee at the scene said the company had about 30 parties scheduled for today. The owner, however, believes most of those deliveries made it out okay because the rental equipment was already loaded onto trucks.
As for future rentals, Velasquez says they will have to call their clients one by one, but she's still unsure how they will handle this.
Once all of the hot spots are under control, the next step is for investigators to identify the cause. Fire officials said that since the space is so large, it is too soon to tell where the fire began.
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