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Explosion sends 2 people to burn centers, forces many to evacuate homes in Venice

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 23:10:43-04

VENICE, Fla. — Two people are injured after an explosion in Venice on Thursday.

Sarasota County officials said they were called to a report of an explosion in the 100 block of Sunset Beach Drive. The call came in around 2:14 p.m.

Two people were injured and were flown to burn centers nearby.

Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier said one of the patients met firefighters near the road. Regnier said the victims said they had about 80 pounds of gun powder in the garage and were reloading or working ammunition.

A large garage was engulfed in flames and neighbors were evacuated. The fire was under control around 3:50 p.m.

Over a dozen Sarasota County Fire Department units were called to the area with assistance from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Nokomis Fire Rescue and Venice Fire Department.

Ben Cararo, the owner of Bada Bing Pizza and Pasta, saw the smoke coming from the neighborhood. He owns a restaurant across the street. He said he heard the popping ammunition.

"Sounded like a war. I don't know what that guy had over there, but it was crazy," said Cararo.

Cararo said he had customers eating pizza outside. He moved them to the inside of his restaurant when the ammunition was going off.

"They were loud, one of them actually vibrated my window, that's when I said let's high-tail, get the hell out of there," said Cararo.

Regnier said a state fire investigator will head to the area and investigate the fire. The garage is a total loss.