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Airport fire leaves thousands of rental cars destroyed

Southwest Florida International Airport says the fire took 3,500 rental cars with it.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski

This past Friday, local Fort Myers, Florida, fire departments responded to a blaze involving 20 rental cars in an overflow area near the Southwest Florida International Airport. By the time firefighters got things under control, the inferno took thousands of vehicles.

At 5 p.m. on Friday, 20 cars were on fire. By the time fire departments arrived, the number rose to 100 cars. First responders lost track of the tally until things were under control.

According to CNN, the rental cars were parked in an overflow area surrounded by brush and grass. An investigation found the grassy area caught fire and helped the flames spread so quickly, but officials did not mention any other cause for the fire.

Numerous water drops to contain the fire happened over 18 hours, and on Saturday around 10:30 a.m., officials declared they contained the fire. According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office's aviation unit, 80 water drops took place in an effort to contain the fire. At its peak, the fire engulfed five to six acres of land and rental cars, which made for a stunning sight in the area as clouds of smoke billowed into the air.

Thankfully, there are no reports of injuries and the damage was merely to the 3,500 rental cars. The local airport reported no damage to structures and thanked the first responders for keeping everyone safe.

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First published April 6.