Fire extinguishing system goes off in Sanford
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Fire extinguishing system goes off in Sanford

Jun 09, 2023

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A fire extinguishing system went off Tuesday around 11:30 a.m. at the BJ's Whole Sale Club along State Road 46 in Sanford.

Firefighters say they heard reports of the explosion, but that turned out to be incorrect.

“We were all pumping gas and then we heard ‘pop!’ And when I looked up and I looked over, all the fire extinguishers started popping and dropping the fire thing over everybody,” Edwin Maldonado said.

His wife and mother were inside the family car with the windows down.

“They had to be rushed to the hospital because they have asthma and they were having an asthma attack,” Maldonado said.

Five people were transported, some needing advanced life support and others basic support.

“You know when a building falls and you see the dust cloud? The whole gas station was full of it. We were bathed in it,” Maldonado said.

Six more people were treated on the scene. There was never any fire or explosion to trigger the system.

“There were workers on scene doing some sort of repairs or maintenance. It wasn't even on this system. It was on something else at the fuel island, and something was accidentally hit,” Sharon Gregory said.

About a third of the system was dumped. Cars were covered with the dust – a convertible included.

“We do have our fire inspectors on scene. They will make sure it's completely safe and operable before they're able to, you know, reopen,” Gregory said.

Maldonado was feeling better at the scene as the minutes clicked by.

“Breathing, my sinuses, they had to flush my eyes. I can still feel it when I looked up, I inhaled it, but luckily, I'm not having trouble breathing,” he said.

And thankfully, he said his wife and mom were doing well at the hospital too.