Neoprene Creates Challenge for FL Firefighters at Wetsuit Shop

Nov. 30, 2022
It took hours for Broward County Fire Rescue firefighters to get the fire out.

Angie DiMichele

South Florida Sun-Sentinel


A fire erupted inside of a wetsuit manufacturing company and retail shop Tuesday night in Pembroke Park, where the neoprene inside the store causing the flames to reach “extremely” high temperatures, Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Kane said.

Firefighters were called to the strip mall at 2930 SW 30th Ave. about 5:30 p.m. and found heavy smoke billowing inside the bay of the business, WetWear Custom Wetsuits.

It took 100 Broward Sheriff’s and Hollywood Fire Rescue firefighters over an hour to get the flames under control and about two hours to extinguish them, Kane said.

The flames left extensive damage to the business, Kane said, and smoke damaged the business next door, Brand Lighting.

“This was an extremely, extremely hot fire,” Kane said. “Neoprene is a plastic, and it burns very, very hot. So these firefighters were exposed to intense temperatures for long periods of time.”

WetWear Custom Wetsuit’s website says the family business manufactures the custom suits in their own facility, “just a few feet away from the retail showroom.”

Kane said it would take crews a few hours to start removing debris and melted materials before they can get to where the fire broke out inside.

The State Fire Marshal will investigate the cause of the fire.

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