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Man injured in Virginia Gardens training drill fire dies; victim was related to MDFR firefighter, police say

<i>WSVN via CNN Newsource</i><br/>A man who was injured after a fire broke out during a firefighter training exercise in Virginia Gardens has died
WSVN via CNN Newsource
A man who was injured after a fire broke out during a firefighter training exercise in Virginia Gardens has died


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    MIAMI (WSVN) — A man who was injured after a fire broke out during a firefighter training exercise in Virginia Gardens has died, police said, as questions about the incident continue to linger.

Miami-Dade Police on Saturday night confirmed the death of the 28-year-old victim, adding he was related to a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue firefighter.

Hours earlier, 7News cameras captured MDFR walking into Ryder Trauma Center, a day after the victim was transported there in extremely critical condition. Some of the firefighters were seen consoling each other.

Also on Saturday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava addressed the massive blaze.

“This was an event that included some trainees and, unfortunately, as you know, there was a disastrous fire,” she said.

The fire sparked Friday morning during a training drill gone terribly wrong at a building near the 6500 block of Northwest 36th Street.

The training operation involved MDFR firefighters, firefighters from Saudi Arabia and other trainees.

According to a 7News source, it was only meant to be a small tar pot fire for demonstration, but after too much fuel was added to the pot, flames got out of control.

The source said there was a flash inside the building, then zero visibility.

“Mayday, mayday, mayday, we have a downed fireman. We’re bringing him out down the stairs,” said a first responder in radio transmissions.

Backup was called, and then it became a three-alarm fire. Dozens of rescue trucks rushed to the area and worked for hours at the building.

7Skyforce captured smoke billowing out of the building.

“It was smoke inhalation from the fire that led to, unfortunately, the person having to be taken to the hospital,” said Levine Cava.

7News cameras captured the injured man being wheeled out of a rescue helicopter at Jackson Memorial Hospital. MDFR instructor Francisco Camero was seen alongside the victim.

Two other people also suffered injuries.

Back at the site of the fire, crews and utility trucks were seen outside on Saturday. Camero was also seen outside the trauma center on Saturday morning.

Hours later, police confirmed the victim who was airlifted had succumbed to his injuries. A 7News source said he was the son of an MDFR employee who was brought to the demonstration.

The source said safety rules for live fire training were not followed.

Several agencies are investigating the fire, including the Florida State Fire Marshal and the Miami-Dade Police Homicide Bureau.

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