PORT ST. LUCIE — A Thursday morning fire ravaged an automotive business in a light industrial area, sending three to a hospital and bringing more than 40 firefighters to the scene, according to the St. Lucie County Fire District.
Fire District crews at 11:03 a.m. went to the scene in the 700 block of Southwest Grove Avenue, just east of Florida’s Turnpike and just north of Southwest Crosstown Parkway.
Individuals at the scene identified the business as Hades Motorsports, and reported it primarily performs work on muscle cars.
Firefighters encountered “heavy fire conditions” when they arrived, said Fire District Division Chief Ryan Jay. People were evacuated and they began extinguishing efforts.
Hades Motorsports is between other businesses, including Southeast General Contracting and Development Corporation.
That’s where Marisha Hansen, 32, is a project coordinator.
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“It was really just a really loud pop, and then the guys from next door they made it one of their top priorities to make sure that everybody got out of the entire complex,” Hansen said, standing on a nearby corner at the scene. “They ran to every door, banged on it and made sure everybody got out.”
She said the facility “went up in flames.”
“It happened really, really fast by the time that we even made it out of our front door there was flames coming out of their bay,” Hansen said. “So as soon as the explosion happened, it was kind of just a chain reaction.”
The fire was under control at 11:49 a.m. and out at 1:01 p.m., the fire district stated. The cause is under investigation.
The condition of the three taken to a hospital was not immediately available.
Representatives of Hades Motorsports could not be reached.
Ray said there is smoke damage to neighboring businesses, but he had not yet been inside to get a clear picture. Ray anticipated crews would be on scene for hours.
Portions of Southwest Grove Avenue remained blocked by yellow tape and Port St. Lucie Police at 2:30 p.m.
Fire District spokesperson Brenda Stokes said the fire was contained to one half of the facility. The business appeared to sustain severe damage.
Reeva Conklin, 31, works with Hansen. She said she heard yelling from the neighboring business.
“I went to the front door, I opened it, saw the smoke went back in, told her there was smoke,” Conklin said. “They started pounding on the door saying the building was on fire, that we needed to get out and we just booked it.”