Hundreds of vehicles catch on fire at junkyard
OPA-LOCKA, Fla. (WSVN) -- About 200 cars went up in flames after a fire broke out at a South Florida junkyard, Monday morning.
The blaze broke out at the TMR (Trademark Metals Recycling, LLC) metal scrap yard and recycling plant located at 3440 N.W. 135th St. in Opa-locka, just before 10 a.m.
According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, about 200 vehicles destined to become scrap metal caught on fire. The blaze was so massive it could be seen from miles away in Miami. Thousands of drivers saw the gray smoke column during their morning commute.
"We knew it was going to get really bad, really quick," said Jorge Blanco, who owns Miller Heavy Equipment, a heavy equipment depot located next to the metal scrap yard.
Blanco said he was worried the fire would spread to his business. "Well, absolutely," he said. "When you see something of that magnitude, you always have that little [voice] at the back of your mind always talking to you. Yeah, absolutely, I was worried. There's really not much you can do, other than hope that the fire engines get here on time and put it out."
Firefighters battled the large blaze by dousing the uppermost layer of the scrap metal heap with thousands of gallons of water. They then removed that layer and worked on the rest of the burning heap containing the flames, shortly thereafter.
Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor arrived at the scene to advise residents to remain calm and avoid the area. "What the residents should do is to make sure they obey the police officers. Don't walk where they should not walk. Many times, in cases like this, people are nosy, and they are inquisitive. People want to know what is going on, but the police officers are there for your safety. They are diverting the traffic. They are also diverting the residents," said Taylor.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesperson Michelle Fayed confirmed none of the businesses, homes or schools located near the scene had to be evacuated. "Right now, Hazmat is on scene to monitor the materials that are coming out of this fire, and there are no dangers posed to the area around at this point," she said.
A student at a nearby high school said he saw no sense of panic inside his classroom. "No, no, not at all," said Deion Bermudez.
Fire rescue remained at the scene for a couple of hours to make sure hot spots did not flare back up. Part of Northwest 135th Street near Sesame Street was blocked off as firefighters monitored the fire. The road re-opened shortly before 3 p.m.
No one was hurt. A spokesperson for TMR said the company is trying to determine the cause of the fire.
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