Mother, daughter escape from burning apartment in Deerfield Beach

Firefighters pull family's dog from closet

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – A Deerfield Beach family is counting their blessings right before the holidays after a woman and her 11-month-old baby escaped from their burning apartment Friday.

The fire broke out Friday morning at the Heritage Circle apartment complex in the 4300 block of Northwest Ninth Avenue.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene as flames tore through a third-floor unit.

According to the family who lives inside, a woman, her 11 month-old daughter and their dog were in the apartment when the fire erupted in a bedroom. 

Tiffani Mercurio said she saw smoke and flames and then raced to grab her daughter before bolting from the apartment.

Mercurio fell down the stairs,  but eventually made it out OK, although her dog was still trapped inside.

Neighbors also rushed over to make sure she was OK. 

The family said their dog was hiding in a closet, but was pulled out by firefighters and miraculously survived.

Mercurio said she is traumatized following the ordeal. 

"I was holding her (my daughter) so tight, trying to get away and neighbors (were) screaming. I was so scared," she said. 

Mercurio's husband said he is grateful that his family and their dog survived. 

"I feel victory. Everything is OK. My family -- for me, it was my family first and the dog," Andre Almeida said.  

Mercurio said she and her baby were checked out by paramedics. Mercurio had some back pain due to her fall and most likely will go to the doctor with her daughter as a precaution.

Authorities believe the fire was electrical in nature, but the official cause remains under investigation.


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