Roof collapses during fire at Miami home

Firefighters battle flames from outside home

MIAMI – A fire early Wednesday morning caused the roof of a home to collapse at 1697 NW 22nd Place in Miami.

Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said heavy flames and smoke were visible when crews arrived.

"As they arrived, people were saying that someone was possibly still inside," Carroll said.

Firefighters found clutter inside and outside the home.

"I think he's the type of guy that just collects a bunch of stuff and doesn't want to throw anything away, like memories," neighbor Bryan Parkhurst said. 

Firefighters made several attempts to enter the home to make sure there was nobody inside. Moments later, the resident came out of a neighbor's home with two dogs in hand, Carroll said. 

According to the resident, his dogs alerted him to the fire. He was able to escape safely with them. 

Firefighters were forced to battle the fire from outside the home because of the roof collapse. They continue to battle the flames because of stubborn hotspots under clutter and debris, Carroll said. 

"The roof began to cave in on firefighters as they worked inside, so they instead surrounded the home and started fighting this from the outside, also protecting neighboring homes," he said.

The fire did not affect any neighboring homes and no injuries were reported.

"I'm really sad to see that it burned down but at least nobody got hurt, you know," nearby property owner Detlef Sauer said.

Sauer owns an apartment building nearby and said that he's complained about the hoarding situation for years.

"I've owned this building for 21 years, and it's been an eye sore for 21 years," he said.

Sauer said he's not surprised that the conditions at the home led to a fire of this magnitude.

"I've told code enforcement and the Allapattah net office for years (that) they need to resolve the issue with the house," he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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