VENICE - According to Sarasota County Emergency Services, crews responded to a fire at the Venice Airport just after 12:30 Sunday afternoon.

The City of Venice spokesperson says the plane was headed for takeoff but the pilot smelled smoke and he and his passenger safely exited the six-seat plane just before it became fully engulfed. All flights at the airport were stopped as crews battled the flames.

According to the Fire Battalion Chief the plane was full of fuel at 80 gallons. Hazmat was able to recover 30 gallons of fuel at the scene.

Dane Dipaolo & Lisa Temple were on their way to the Chalk Festival when they say the saw heavy smoke coming from the area.

“It erupted in flames and black smoke, starting turning white when the fire department was her, said Dipaolo. "It was engulfed in flames the whole plane.”

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause of this fire. The Chalk Festival which was held at the Venice Airport was not affected; organizers say they were far enough from the flames to continue.