VIDEO: A massive fire erupted early Thursday in Sanford when a gas line ruptured, prompting officials to evacuate more than 800 nearby homes.
The fire broke out around 1 a.m. near Michigan Avenue and Oregon Street, west of I-4 near the St. Johns River.
A ball of smoke and flames shot 100 feet into the sky for nearly two hours, with News 6 viewers saying they could see flames and smoke from miles away. Fire officials said they received so many calls about the fire that they had difficulty pinpointing the exact source of the blaze. Crews discovered the ruptured 12-inch gas line, owned by Florida Public Utilities, in a remote area near the Black Bear Wilderness Area.
“We got reports of a structure fire, we got reports of brush fires and there was some limited area of brush fires, but because the winds were only approximately 1 mph, those were very small,” said Seminole County Fire Chief Otto Drozd III.
Drozd said 837 homes were evacuated via reverse 911 calls.