Miami-Dade County

200 firefighters called to toxic warehouse blaze in Opa-locka

A major warehouse send smoke into the air amid concern about the roof’s stability.
A major warehouse send smoke into the air amid concern about the roof’s stability. Miami Herald Staff

A fire that ripped through an Opa-locka warehouse Thursday was so intense that it took 200 firefighters more than four hours to tame, sent noxious smoke miles across the sky and caused the roof to collapse.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue firefighters and the department’s hazmat team descended on the burning warehouse just before 8 a.m. A spokesman warned onlookers to stay away because the fumes from the fire could be toxic.

The fire was under control by Thursday afternoon and investigators are trying to figure out the cause.

The four-alarm fire at Kannoa Simply Outdoor, an outdoor furniture manufacturing company at 14810 NW 24th Ct., presented a host of problems for firefighters, said Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita.

Piedrahita said firefighters faced poor visibility, intense heat and hazardous conditions. He warned people with respiratory problems to stay away from the area in the morning hours.

People in the warehouse said they heard an explosion and then ran out of the building, said Miami-Dade firefighter Alexio Rodriguez Jr.

“Nobody is inside,” Rodriguez said. “Nobody is hurt or has been hurt.”

Fire-rescue agencies from Hialeah and the city of Miami were called in to help bolster the Miami-Dade crews.

Rodriguez said crews worked to make sure the flames didn’t spread to neighboring buildings.

“We are working with a warehouse that does contain hazardous materials which are highly flammable,” Rodriguez said during the fire’s peak.

Several cars in the parking lot were reportedly damaged. Early on, firefighters established a safety zone because of the unstable roof.

Claudia Mejia, an employee at Kannoa Simply Outdoor, said she wasn’t inside business when the fire started.

“It breaks my heart because we’ve worked so hard to make the company grow and we’re a family,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to see all our work and our effort go up in smoke.”