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Massive Fire After Plane On Training Flight Crashes Into Lakeland Warehouse

January 22, 2015 - This morning a Piper PA-23 Apache, N465JA departed Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida for a training flight with two onboard. Just after 9 AM the twin engine aircraft crashed into a warehouse northwest of the airport killing the instructor and student pilot.

At about 9:20 AM Lakeland Fire Department received a call of a warehouse on fire at Key Safety Systems, 5300 Allen K Breed Hwy, Lakeland. They also received calls of an aircraft in distress.

When fire rescue arrived they found the warehouse fully engulfed in flames. company officials informed the fire department that the building housed potentially explosive chemicals and that the building was a former plastics warehouse. Fire fighters attacked the fire from the exterior with no firefighters entering the building due to the potential safety risks to firefighters.


It took the fire department one and half hours to put the fire out. Inside the warehouse were chemicals Nitrogaunidine and Powdered Aluminum. Nitorguanidine must be kept wet or it will become potentially explosive. These chemicals were stored by Key Safety Systems for the manufacturing of airbag systems in vehicles.

Due to the risk to of the chemicals exploding firefighters did not enter until the fire was contained. Polk County Fire Rescue’s Hazardous Materials Team was called to assist and upon fire being extinguished team entered the structure to survey the site and perform reconnaissance of the chemicals.

Upon cursory inspections of the warehouse there were no airplane parts or victims to recover. It is suspected that this is due to the high temperature at which the chemical fueled fire burned. Once able to be allowed in LPD Crime Scene investigators will be able to investigate and confirm any findings. The plane belonged to local flight school Tail Wheels inc. based out of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.



Tailwheels Etc. released the following statement: "There was an accident this morning in which we lost one of our aircraft, along with the lives of close friends.  We have no further information as to the cause, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will have an investigation into the crash.  At this time, we have no comment, and we ask that you please respect the privacy of the students, pilots, and the friends and family associated with this facility.  We ask that you would also keep the families of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

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