Best Fire - 1999
American Airlines Arena
This is one combustible town. In the past year we've had brushfires and a tanker-truck explosion close highways. We had a bird's-eye view when a welder sent passengers scrambling aboard the cruise ship Ecstasy. We saw an unhappy Hialeah citizen set Raul Martinez's car ablaze, a beach lover torch the faux wooden village behind the Delano Hotel, and a music critic firebomb the Amnesia nightclub just before a Cuban band took the stage. Yet of all the conflagrations to beset this area, none seemed as thrilling as the fire that raged atop that overpriced eyesore on the bay, the American Airlines Arena. As the sun set that November day, people gathered around their television sets to cheer on the blaze. Of course no one hoped for injuries, not to the construction workers and certainly not to the firefighters. But a large segment of the population sincerely wanted to see the thing burn to the ground. We came together as a community on that day.