2 best friends died in an explosion during welding on a fuel tanker

2 best friends and business colleagues died and 3 people were injured in an explosion and fire that happened during welding on a company’s fuel tanker on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, in Medley, Florida. The explosion occurred at 8:40 am at Laurie’s Trailer Repair and General Welding, 11350 NW South River Drive, 12 miles from downtown Miami. The victims are identified as Elias Gross, 60, and Vincent Williams, 60, both from Miami, FL.

The explosion was recorded by a doorbell camera. The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to a call reporting a fire in the industrial area at the address in Hialeah Gardens. Upon arriving at that address, the rescue team realized the registered address was wrong and went to the correct address from where the plume of smoke was visible.

More than 20 firefighters found multiple vehicles on fire at the scene, including several fuel carriers. Power lines were laying all around. Firefighters found 5 people who were in immediate danger and needed emergency help. The situation was complicated because there were a lot of flammables on the field.

Following the event, South River Drive was closed immediately.

The investigation showed that the explosion was probably caused by a spark during the welding of a fuel tank. Witnesses of the fire claimed to have seen workers welding a fuel tank. They were working on heavy machinery moments before the fire ignited. 

Gross and Williams were customers of the welding company. They were pronounced dead at the scene. Two people were transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in serious condition, one was airlifted and the other was transported by an ambulance vehicle. Both are in critical condition. The third person suffered minor injuries and was treated on-site. The identity of the three injured people is unknown, as well as whether they were employees or customers of the welding company.

The fight with the fire lasted 90 minutes. MDPD’s Homicide Bureau and MDPD Arson Unit investigators took over the investigation once firefighters had completed their work. Pictures from the scene show that several vehicles parked on the lot, including a tractor-trailer, were completely burned. Utility workers were fixing damaged power lines.

It can be seen that the fire engulfed the business that was located on the same lot, Alex Trucks Weld & General Repair.

The police did not provide information on whether the fire affected other companies in this industrial region. The real cause of the accident in which 2 best friends died in an explosion during welding on a fuel tanker is still unknown.