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Tamarac fatal fire turns into illegal assisted living facility probe, deputies say

TAMARAC, Fla. – After a fire left a man and a woman dead, city inspectors found an overcrowded two-bedroom single-family home in Tamarac.

The State Fire Marshal Office and Broward’s Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating Thursday if the home was an unlicensed assisted living facility.

House fire survivors wait outside on Wednesday in Tamarac.
House fire survivors wait outside on Wednesday in Tamarac. (Local 10 News)

One of the victims of the Wednesday fire was a centenarian at risk during the coronavirus pandemic. Tamarac Fire Rescue and North Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded about 5 p.m. to the home at 7305 N.W. 65th St.

“Seeing all the people that were in there, I don’t think it was used as a single-family home,” said Claudio Grande, the city’s chief building official, adding there were “a lot of things that shouldn’t be at a normal home.”

Firefighters found wheelchairs and hospital beds inside. Cilla Dawes, a survivor of the fire, said she lived there with five roommates and was out doing groceries when the fire broke out.

“It’s six of us,” Dawes said, adding she didn’t know her roommates very well.

The fire left a woman dead at the home and a man dead at the hospital, according to Miranda Grossman, a spokeswoman for BSO.

A person died in a house fire Wednesday in Tamarac.
A person died in a house fire Wednesday in Tamarac. (SKY 10)

Broward County’s property appraiser records show Dawes Real Estate Holdings as the owner of the home. Florida corporation records show Cilla Dawes is the company’s registered agent.

Voter registration records show Syemour Epstein, Cilla Dawes, Derrick Dawes, Azra Dawes, Chrystal Dawes and Navdia Dawes are registered to vote under this address.

BSO Detective Samantha Cottam is asking anyone with information about the home to call 954-321-4544 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.


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