Fire atop garage forces condo evacuation

By Rafael A. Olmeda
Staff Writer
Posted October 3 2003

A fire that began in a tar pot on the roof of a parking garage caused a column of smoke that could be seen for miles early Thursday afternoon.

The fire prompted the evacuation of the top three floors of the adjacent 16-story Ocean Colony condominium building on A1A, about a mile north of Commercial Boulevard in an unincorporated area, said Todd LeDuc, spokesman for the Broward Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services.

No one was injured in the two-alarm fire, although a firefighter was sent to Broward General Medical Center in good condition as a precaution, LeDuc said.

The fire began at 12:05 p.m. in a tar pot and escalated when it came in contact with a nearby cardboard palette, LeDuc said. Smoke went through the building's ventilation system and out through the roof. The county's Hazardous Materials unit was concerned because several liquid propane tanks were on the roof as well. Firefighters were able to cool the tanks off and prevent any explosion. The fire was out in half an hour, and residents were allowed back into the building late Thursday afternoon.

Building resident Jairo Calle, 43, said his 2-year-old son Gabriel warned him about the fire by shouting, "Papi, black clouds!"

Calle dressed the boy and left the building holding his son's hand while carrying his 10-month old daughter, Julianna. Once he was downstairs, he said he wasn't worried about the fire.

"I had the kids with me," Calle said. "That's all I cared about."

Rafael Olmeda can be reached at [email protected] or 954-356-4207.

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