Firefighters respond to fire with explosions at maintenance building in Lely Resort

Greater Naples Fire Rescue District responded to a fire at a maintenance building behind the Players Club & Spa community in Lely Resort Friday.

According to the first district, there were reportedly a number of explosions inside the building. The explosions are believed to have involved propane or gas tanks. It’s not confirmed if the fire caused the tanks to burst or if that was the cause of the fire at this time.

Firefighters had to deal with heavy flames and excessive heat. A firefighter with the first crew to respond had to be sent home due to heat exhaustion. Fire Chief Nolan Sapp said that firefighter will be OK.

Jennifer Steinhebel heard the pops from the explosions.

“You know what? You’re so not used to it,” Steinhebel said. “When you hear an explosion, it’s like, it’s unsettling. It’s like you’re not safe at all.”

Firefighters are still investigating the ultimate cause of the explosions.

“You knew it wasn’t like a little something,” Steinhebel said. “It had to of been a major. I knew that immediately.”

Immediately, Steinhebel thought of her home.

“It freaked me out for a second, like my heart totally dropped,” Steinhebel said.

Steinhebel soon realized where these giant black plumes of smoke were coming from, and knowing what was in that building made her heart drop again.

“That’s the main place for all of the landscaping and the golf courses, so I can’t imagine all of that stuff in there that would be igniting like into these explosions. Scary,” Steinhebel said.

Firefighters went in wearing oxygen tanks, careful not to breathe the chemicals in, but the fire chief said this was hard work. They had to cut through metal doors, wear heavy gear and do it all in the blazing heat.

“The firefighters that had to go through that, that was not your ordinary fire,” Sapp said. “That was a serious, serious, dangerous situation, and just thank you to all of the service people out here.”

The fire chief also told us there were cats in the building to control a mice problem, but they haven’t seen any of those cats running around.

Reporter:Gail Levy
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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