2 suffer burns after explosion during junkyard photo shoot

Candles ignite fire at Fort Lauderdale junkyard

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Andrew Perez - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A woman and a man are being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital after suffering significant burns in an explosion at a junkyard Tuesday.

The incident was reported shortly before noon at a junkyard at Northwest 27th Avenue and 19th Street.

Fort Lauderdale police said the woman was posing for pictures inside the car and candles were being used as a backdrop for the photo shoot.

Police said it appeared that the candles ignited the gas fumes, severely burning the woman and the independent photographer, identified by family members as Helmut Montoya.

The woman suffered burns on 75 percent of her body, a source told Local 10 News.

Witnesses said the victims were hosed down after people heard their screams.

"I heard a bang and a scream. Like he said, it wasn't no regular screaming. She was on fire, burnt all her hair, clothes and shoes off her," witness Antwan Jones said. "(Then) they finally found the fire extinguisher."

"They stretched a hose line and went to a vehicle that was smoldering and found a woman that was inside of the vehicle," Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue spokesman Timothy Heiser said.

Heiser said both victims were taken to Broward Health Medical Center in critical condition. Both were later transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Family members said Montoya suffered burns to his hands and face. He is expected to be OK.

Employees at the junkyard said the victims had permission to be there for the photo shoot.

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