Orlando warehouse fire that killed 4 prompts questions over fireworks storage
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County leaders are questioning safety issues surrounding a deadly warehouse fire that ignited fireworks stored at the property. The fire – which happened on Dec. 1 – could come up on Tuesday at the county commission meeting.
There are legal questions over whether the company was even allowed to store fireworks there. A county commissioner is saying officials didn’t even know fireworks were inside the building.
"By our understanding, it doesn't seem like the warehouse was allowed to have that," Uribe said in an interview with FOX 35.
The warehouse where this happened is located on Central Florida Parkway in Taft. District 3 Commissioner Mayra Uribe's office says she's working closely with a team made up of staff from planning and zoning and the State Fire Marshals Office to find out why no one was aware that Magic in the Sky – which provides professional special effects fireworks – was storing fireworks inside.
She told FOX 35 she wants to find out if they had the proper permits and if other facilities might have dangerous materials that the county isn’t aware of.
"It drew the bigger question of, ‘where are those warehouses that are allowed to have that? And are they near homes, are they where regular pedestrians or people could be, or any schools and things like that?’"
FOX 35 also did some digging. According to the county's website, there were two items related to Magic in the Sky that we found: a fire damage report from Dec. 3 and a field investigation report on Dec. 7, both of which were filed after the deadly fire.
FOX 35 went to the county permitting office to find more information on what other permits the warehouse had on file. We were told the request was in process. On Tuesday, county commissioners met for their meeting and FOX 35 caught up with District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson. She said the commission will continue to look into the concerns.
"This gives us the opportunity to scrutinize every decision that's made and try to prevent that in the future. That's the most important lesson right now, is we learn and prevent any more tragedy's going forward."
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The fire killed four people: Landon Bourland, 24; David Gonzalez, 22; Lindsey Phillips, 23; and Elizabeth Tiralongo, 22. Several others were injured in the fire, including 27-year-old Lindsey Tallafuss who is fighting for her life in the hospital after being burned on 62% of her body.
Officials with Magic in the Sky previously said they are also conducting an internal investigation into the cause of the fire.
"Magic in the Sky will conduct a thorough and complete review of this incident and make our findings available to the public. In the interim, we ask that you let investigations take place and allow us to focus on our personnel, the injured, and their families. We kindly request that you also respect the privacy of the families involved as they grieve and work through this most difficult time," a statement read.
FOX 35 reached out to Magic in the Sky about having a permit to store fireworks but has not yet heard back.
A representative with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) spoke to FOX 35 on the phone and, in general terms, said depending on the type of fireworks that are stored at a warehouse or building, a special license by the ATF could be needed.
FOX 35 will continue to update viewers on the status of the building permits for the warehouse