MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Multiple families have been displaced after a multi-unit building in northeast Miami-Dade went up in flames Tuesday night.
Dramatic video shows flames shooting through the roof of the building on Northeast 182nd Terrace and Northeast 25th Place Wednesday morning after the fire re-ignited.
The initial fire broke out around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials, the fire was difficult to put out because there are three roofs and there were a lot of voids that the fire was able to spread in.
The Battalion Chief told Local 10 News the biggest challenge was getting to the void space within the roof of the structure. “There was damage to previous roofs, so they just built a roof over it, so there’s a lot of hidden spaces, which made it a little more difficult to fight,” explains Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Christopher True.
Officials said sometimes when a roof starts leaking, the owner of the house will just build a new roof on top because it’s cheaper than replacing the old roof, which tends to be more common when the roof is flat.
Officials said the initial fire started in the kitchen of one of the units and the fire that erupted Wednesday morning started in the bedroom of that same unit.
Firefighters put foam on the fire to make sure that the fire does not re-ignite.
A 25-year-old man who lives at the triplex told Local 10 News that he was playing on his Xbox in his bedroom when he noticed smoke coming from the ceiling.
“I was like, almost going to go to bed until I feel and sense and smell something weird,” Eduardo Altamirano Jr. said.
Altamirano, his parents, sister and niece escaped from their unit unharmed before firefighters arrived.
After the flames were extinguished, the family began salvaging their belongings.
But the fire re-ignited around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, sending firefighters back to the scene.
“Devastating. Really devastating, because I think I lost everything: material things, pics, you know, pictures,” Eduardo Altamirano Sr. said.
The family says they have been renting the unit for some time.
Thankfully, their landlord has offered another place for them to stay while they get back on their feet.
It’s unclear how many people were displaced, but officials said no one is allowed to live in the building for the time being because one of the roofs could collapse. The building has been deemed a total loss.
The official cause of the fire remains under investigation.