Woman burned in Fort Lauderdale photo shoot explosion identified

Jenny Meiler, 48, worked as nutritionist in Boca Raton


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Police have identified a woman who was severely burned in an explosion during a photo shoot last week at a Fort Lauderdale junkyard as Jenny Meiler, 48, of Boca Raton.

Meiler suffered burns on more than 75 percent of her body when she was trapped inside a car that became an inferno during a June 9 photo shoot with photographer Helmut Montoya, who also suffered from serious burn injuries while trying to rescue Meiler from the fire.

Montoya lit the car with candles, which ignited the fire at the junkyard off Northwest 19th Street and 27th Avenue. The car was soaked with automotive fluid and other potentially hazardous materials. Police said gas fumes are believed to have ignited the candles.

Exactly what role Meiler was playing in the shoot isn't clear. She has been reported as both a model and photographer's assistant.

In Boca Raton, Meiler worked as a personal trainer and life coach and wrote on LinkedIn that she attended college in Hamburg and London.

"I empower people to discover how to live their happiest, most fulfilling and abundant life," she wrote on the website Thumbtack. "Exercise, nutrition, positive thinking, personal development, and mind and body connection create a new state of being."

Meiler remains in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center.

Stacey Montoya said her husband's face was "burned pretty bad," but he is expected to survive.

"I'm extremely grateful that he's alive," she told Local 10 News.

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