Videos posted online showed an orange blaze and a wall of thick smoke billowing over homes. Frances Yont, who lives across the street from the crash, told 10 Tampa Bay, a CBS affiliate, that she could feel the heat from the fire when she ran out of her home in Clearwater, roughly 20 miles west of Tampa.
“Everything was popping like propane tanks,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything,” she said, adding that “it was horrible.”
Fire officials were coordinating with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration for an investigation, Chief Ehlers said.
The Fire Department received the initial call at 7:08 p.m., and crews “quickly extinguished” the blaze after arriving at the park at about 7:15 p.m., Chief Ehlers said.
About the same time that his department was called, the chief said, an airport in Clearwater roughly three miles away had dispatched its own fire response vehicles to an “aircraft having an emergency.”