A fire that began Friday at a rental car overflow lot at Fort Myers Airport has been blamed on a rental car left to idle by rental car staff that caused a catastrophic fire that resulted in the loss of over 3500 cars stored in a lot adjacent to the airport.

Images posted anonymously to Facebook show the devastation as cars lay stacked on top of one another as ground and aerial firefighting crews fought to contain the massive blaze that initially only involved 20 vehicles, quickly spread to involve nearly 95% of the vehicles stored on the lot as dry conditions and mild winds spread the fire from vehicle to vehicle.

In videos posted to Facebook Friday evening by the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office, in-cockpit video from the department’s UH-1H helicopter shows the vast expanse of vehicles burning, pushing black smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.

CCSO’s UH-1H was reported to have completed more than 80 drops using its 300-gallon capacity Bambi Bucket, joined during the firefight by an additional UH-1H from the Florida Forestry Service in addition to ground units using aerial boom trucks and heavy machinery to push already burning vehicles together in an effort to control the spread of the fire which raged into the night.

Images showing the devastation of the blaze were posted to Facebook yesterday showing the sheer volume of vehicles involved were all that remained of the vehicles were their burned-out shells, devoid of any moldings or tires that all likely burned during the massive blaze that took over 18 hours to extinguish.