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Family Run Restaurant Reduced To Rubble In Blaze, Two Injured

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Two people were injured in a restaurant explosion and fire in Homestead.

It happened at the La Fondita Mexican Restaurant at 219 SW 6th Ave.

Cell phone video given to CBS4 by a neighbor shows some stunning images of flames engulfing the restaurant. Firefighters rushed to the scene but it was too late to save the business.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Michelle Fayed said when the owner of the restaurant and his daughter-in-law arrived at the restaurant Friday morning to get the business ready for opening when they smelled propane gas.

"When they opened the door obviously something ignited and there was a gas leak and the structure exploded," said Miami-Dade Rescue Fire Chief Alfie Hernandez. "Something as little as a light switch would actually be an ignition source to cause the explosion."

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People who work in the area said they heard the explosion and rushed over to the restaurant only to find the huge flames shooting from the roof. They said restaurant's owner was frantically trying to move cars away from the building to avoid more explosions.

The owner's daughter said her father, Alfredo Serrano, and her sister-in-law, Odelia Mondragon, both suffered burns on their faces. They were airlifted to Kendall Regional Hospital.

Maricela Espinosa told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "I am devastated. In reality, we don't know what started it. My dad and my sister-in-law were inside. We are really worried about everything that just happened. It's a business that we have built on our own. What I understand is that they went inside to cook and that's when the explosion happened."

The building itself was reduced to rubble.

"It's a family restaurant that has been open for years. For it to go down in flames it really hurts," said Serrano's grandson Davie Espinosa. "Now you just have to move on. I'm just glad that the family members are going to be ok."

Family members told D'Oench that the restaurant was opened at least 15 years. It's not known if they will rebuild the restaurant and it is not known how long the owner and his daughter-in-law will be hospitalized.

They did say the restaurant did have insurance. The cause of the gas leak is under investigation.

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