AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) – – Rescue crews airlifted a man to the hospital with severe burns after a 75-foot yacht caught fire in Aventura, causing panic among area residents.
Aventura Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene of the blaze in the area of 1520 Island Blvd., in between two apartment complexes, just before 7:25 p.m., Friday.
“It was pretty big. You could feel the heat,” said area resident Brian Morales.
“We were afraid our building was going to be on fire,” said area resident Barbie Gregory.
Morales was one of many residents who came home to witness the burning vessel.
“I was like, ‘What the hell is going on,’ and then I saw the smoke,” he said, “and then we got pretty close with my daughter, and you can feel the heat from all the fire, and then, as time went on, it got bigger and bigger.”
Witnesses across Aventura took out their cellphones and recorded video of the smoke and flames from various angles.
Massive plumes of smoke rising into the air could be seen from several miles away. A time lapse video shot from a distance showed how far the smoke reached.
The fire made for some scary moments for Gregory. She said she was having dinner in North Miami Beach when she saw the flames.
“My daughter, who’s in Tennessee, sends me a video and says, ‘Mom, what’s going on?’ It says there’s a big fire in Aventura.’”
Gregory began to record the fire on video, and she realizing it was burning just feet from her home.
“So I see in social media, looking at pictures, and I recognized our apartment complex. Scared me to death,” she said. “I started calling neighbors, trying to figure out what in the world was going on.”
Firefighters used water and foam to extinguish the flames. They did not spread to other vessels.
The injured victim was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center for treatment. His condition remains unknown.
Residents are breathing a sigh of relief since their buildings were not damaged.
“We had no idea what we were going to come home to find, if our place was going to be stable or not,” she said. “I still feel horrible for people and their loss tonight. It’s obviously tragic, but it is a relief that our complex was not on fire; that was my first original thought.”
Just after 10 p.m., crews were still putting out hot spots, as investigators attempt to determine how the fire started.
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