Firefighters battle massive flames at Fort Lauderdale warehouse

Witness says he heard explosion moments before seeing smoke

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Firefighters spent much of Wednesday morning battling intense flames from a Fort Lauderdale warehouse used to store mixed chemicals.

Smoke and flames could be seen coming from a warehouse on McNab Road. The smoke could be seen by many drivers on Interstate 95.

Firefighters spent hours dousing the building with water from the ground and on ladder trucks. Firefighters also tapped several water hoses directly into a nearby canal.

As the smoke cleared, the view from Sky 10 revealed the extent of the damage to the building.

"I just heard an explosion, a little explosion, and all of a sudden I hear a big explosion, and then I see black smoke everywhere," witness Rick Figueroa said.

A sign outside the building said ConSeal International, Inc. The company's website touts ConSeal as the "world leader in the private label and custom manufacture of specialty chemicals."

"Due to the nature of the materials that's stored in that building and the adjacent building, we declared it a hazardous materials scene," Fort Lauderdale Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Heiser said.

There were six employees inside at the time of the fire, but they were not injured.

The state fire marshal told Local 10 News that a worker penetrated a large sealed can of industrial-grade salt that somehow sparked the fire and spread to the other cans.

"As the fire progressed, there were several more explosions, and the fire vented itself through the roof," Heiser said.

Firefighters ordered businesses in a three-block radius of the warehouse to evacuate.

A firefighter injured his leg while battling the flames. He was taken to a hospital, but he was expected to recover.

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