Fla. warehouse hazmat cleanup may take several days

By Juan Ortega
The Sun Sentinel

LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. — Fire officials are returning today to the Lauderdale Lakes warehouse where they battled a fire so big that about 75 firefighters from five departments responded and it took about an hour to bring it under control.

Today, a strong chemical odor is still coming from the large one-story complex with several businesses.

It may take several days or longer to remove dangerous chemicals from the charred building on the 3000 block of Northwest 27th Avenue and make sure it is safe to enter, said Mike Jachles, a spokesman with the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

Only then will investigators from the Broward Sheriff Fire Marshal's Bureau and the Florida Fire Marshal be able to start piecing together the cause of the blaze.

Although several firefighters were treated for exhaustion, no one was hurt in the fire that began a little after 9 p.m. Thursday.

Jachles said arriving fire crews encountered a fuel or chemical fire burning at more than 1,000 degrees. It had spread quickly to adjacent structures.

A hazardous materials team and technical rescue team responded because chemicals, hazardous materials and combustibles were present. Also, officials used a special tanker to hurl hundreds of gallons of firefighting foam and a chemical-extinguishing agent at the flames.

Copyright 2009 South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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