COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Three people have been hospitalized and 12 apartments are now uninhabitable after a fire at a complex Friday, Coconut Creek police said.
From the third story to the first, several units are left in shambles. The fire consumed everything in its path, leaving charred mattresses and blown-out windows.
The fire alarms were blaring at around 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Coconut Creek apartment complex. Dozens of residents we're forced out of their homes. Some grabbed what they could, but eventually just had to leave.
"I thought the entire building was going to just blow up because it was scary," a resident said.
Local 10 News has learned that others ran toward the fire, broke in windows and grabbed fire extinguishers to help fellow neighbors.
"They had a few good guys that went upstairs, knocked on everybody's doors to get them out," a resident said. "There were a couple of guys that were risking their lives."
Jill Rhymer said she and several residents went hallway to hallway as the fire, which started in a first floor unit, damaged 12 other apartments before fire crews had it under control.
A man and woman living in one of the apartments were taken to Northwest Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation. Police said the man was then taken to Kendall Burn Center in serious condition, with inhalation burns.
A man who was outside the apartment was taken to Northwest Medical Center for minor injuries, police said.
"I knew that the person on the first floor had several cats," Rhymer said. "I know he's very ill and it was just a very emotional experience."
The Red Cross will be helping the residents of the 12 apartments now considered uninhabitable.
Police said several cats living in the injured couple's apartment have not been found.
The State Fire Marshal and Coconut Creek Police Department are investigating the fire.
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