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Palm Beach County Fire Rescue firefighters battled warehouse fire in Canal Point

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 23:33:43-04

Palm Beach County Fire Fighters battled a two-story warehouse fire in Canal Point for more than 8 hours Wednesday.

Fire investigators believe it may have been caused by lightning.

The fire sparked at the old Granados Furniture and Produce store. The store has been closed and the building was abandoned, but fire fighters say some items left inside could have also helped the fire spread.

Flames spread quickly through the wood-framed warehouse, believed to be about 20,000 square feet by fire fighters.

“Like 50-60 foot flames. Taller than the trees, for sure,” Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Captain Rick Batchelor said.

The sheer size of the building was a challenge for firefighters.

“We knew the structure was pretty much like a maze the way it was divided up,“ said Captain Rick Batchelor.

Batchelor made the call not to send fire fighters inside, knowing it was too risky. Walls also collapsed during the fire fight.

Fire crews battled the flames from the outside only, making for a longer, hotter process.

“With a 109 degree heat index in full bunker gear, these guys get exhausted pretty quickly,” Batchelor said.

Fire fighters took more breaks and checked their vitals frequently.

Water access is also an obstacle in rural communities, Batchelor said. “The municipal water supply is a limitation because we’re so far from the plant, it’s a very rural area,” Batchelor said.

Water had to be pumped in from the nearby Palm Beach Canal.

Nearby residents say they wouldn’t be surprised if lightning set the building on fire.

“It was pouring rain, lightning and thundering. We heard a big boom, came outside and the building was smoking,” said Colton Nee.

“It was really bad, too. The lightning was really bad,” said Trinity Nee.

The cause is still under investigation.

 

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.

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