LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Two people were injured and two pets are missing after a fire erupted Monday morning inside of an apartment unit in Lauderhill, officials confirmed.
According to Lauderhill Fire Rescue spokesman Gerardo “Jerry” Gonzalez, ,multiple people called 911 around 2:30 a.m. to report that they saw heavy black smoke coming from a first floor apartment at the Waterford Park Apartments at 7465 NW 44th St.
When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy smoke and flames coming from a window.
As a precaution, firefighters evacuated the entire building, forcing about 20 people out of their homes.
Gonzalez said firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, keeping the fire from spreading to other apartment units as tenants were sleeping.
A man and his girlfriend who live in the apartment escaped before firefighters arrived.
The young couple was taken to University Medical Center in Tamarac to be treated for smoke inhalation.
“I almost died,” the woman told Local 10 News after coming back from the hospital. She said she was sleeping when the incident occurred.
Gonzalez confirmed that two cats are still missing and the apartment is uninhabitable due to the smoke damage.
“They were staying at the house,” he said. “It’s a friend’s house and they were just letting them stay at the house at the time.”
Property manager Patty Vega came to tour the damage and console the victims.
“Everything is destroyed. There’s nothing salvageable in there. It’s bad,” she said.
The American Red Cross has been called out to provide temporary housing for the friend who lives at the apartment.
Officials say it’s too early in the investigation to know whether the fire was accidental or suspicious in nature.
Investigators are working to pinpoint exactly where the fire started, but believe it may have started in the kitchen.