ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - FOX 35 News has confirmed that a tenant specializing in pyrotechnics was not permitted to store fireworks at an Orange County warehouse that caught fire, killing four people and hurting another badly.
Magic in the Sky has its business name written on the door. Yet Orange County officials said they had no idea it was there – and that it didn’t have any permit or business license with the county to keep fireworks there. According to records, there wasn’t even one filed, let alone approved.
A group of 15 officials – including the permitting department, code enforcement, zoning, the fire marshal, and more -- all met up Monday to discuss what they have learned about the deadly Dec. 1 fire in Taft.
Orange County District 3 Commissioner Mayra Uribe said the location of Magic in the Sky was registered only to store furniture.
"It was furniture and that’s what the fire marshal on their record, that’s what the county had on their record," she said, "but more importantly, nowhere in unincorporated Orange County do we have a fireworks store registered."
We asked if such a business would be required to have a permit to store fireworks.
- Orlando Warehouse Fire: Fourth person dies days after blaze that ignited fireworks
- Orlando warehouse fire that killed 4 prompts questions over fireworks storage
- Orlando warehouse fire: FOX 35 digs for answers on deadly blaze that ignited fireworks
"Absolutely, and it would be considered a high-priority safety, which means the fire marshal, and they would be on inspection notices much faster than what they call a lower priority," she explained.
The commissioner said if the business did have a permit, it would have been inspected every six months, rather than every two to three years.
"It’s worrisome to me to know that this existed at that high level of fireworks - it wasn’t just sparklers and things like that – and that we had no clue, but more importantly that four people lost their lives because of this," she said. "I also think of our first responders -- people who are going to arrive to those kinds of scenes, unaware of what’s there. I mean, if they looked it up, it would’ve said 'furniture.'"
Now, there are two more questions to answer: Where does the blame fall, and could this have been prevented?
"I don’t know who’s ultimately responsible, but we don’t have a record of them, and we don’t have a record of any firework storage in Orange County – unincorporated Orange County," Uribe added.
Landon Bourland, 24, David Gonzalez, 22, Lindsey Phillips, 23, and Elizabeth Tiralongo, 22, died from injuries sustained in the fire, officials said. Lindsey Tallafuss, 27, received burns to 60% of her body, according to her family.
The State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) are still working on their reports on how this fire started. Commissioner Uribe wants to work on stronger policies to keep this from happening.