A photographer and a woman believed to be a production assistant (some initial coverage reported that she was the model) were critically injured and hospitalized Tuesday when a photo shoot at a junk yard ended in a horrific explosion. Helmut Montoya, a photographer and filmmaker in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and the production assistant, were setting up for the photo shoot when the accident occurred. The pair had lit candles inside an inoperable car to use as a backdrop and was setting up lighting when witnesses heard a loud bang and then screams.

The initial investigation states that gas fumes in the air ignited causing possibly a ‘flash explosion.’ Fire Marshall Jeff Lucas states that they believe there was a can nearby with gasoline residue, “The flame was about four feet away from the can where the gasoline residue was. It doesn’t take much for it to travel.


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Montoya, who has been a photographer for over 20 years according to the¬†news report, was badly burned on his hands and face, while the female production assistant was trapped in the car and was burned over 70-80%% of her body. Her injuries are considered to be life threatening. Both are in the trauma center of a nearby hospital, though the identity of the women, believed to be a mother of two, has been withheld. Montoya’s wife said that the two had permission to be on the property, and it was a “freak accident.”


This is a good reminder that whenever you use an open flame or anything flammable, to always be extra careful (which goes without saying) and to always have a fire extinguisher on hand. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Helmut and the production assistant.

[Via NBC Miami]