Streets closed near Art of God warehouse fire in Wynwood

Officials: Fire may affect morning commuters

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

MIAMI - A fire at an art warehouse in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood may affect rush hour traffic Thursday morning, fire officials said.

Authorities said North Miami Avenue between 26 and 28 streets will remain closed if the fire continues burning.

Police said they were asking residents in the area to keep their windows closed to avoid the heavy smoke.

"It was coming out of the roof," said Yoel Plasencia. "I looked across the street and saw the smoke coming out of the AC unit."

More than 80 firefighters were on scene at the Art By God warehouse at 60 Northeast 27th Street Wednesday evening.

Art of God

"It looks very bad. I don't think they can get control of it because of the amount of stuff that's in there," said Alexander Vega, a nearby business owner.

According to Miami Fire Rescue, the first started about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"The crews had to force their way inside. They were met by heavy, black smoke," said Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll. 

Because the warehouse has no windows, firefighters were punching holes in the roof to vent the flames. The roof had collapsed. No injuries were reported.

"A lot of unknown is inside there and we don't want to take the risk of putting our firefighters in danger," said Carroll.

The warehouse is filled with paintings, sculptures, wood carvings and equipment.

"They have art inside. Very expensive art, very pricey, yes," said Plasencia.

Vega said the loss could be in the millions.

Gene Harris, the owner of Art By God, said he was devastated but thankful no one was inside at the time of the fire.

Firefighters were expected to remain on scene throughout the evening to knock down any flare ups.

Firefighters are not expecting to make it inside until Thursday to determine a cause. 

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