NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A wheelchair-bound man has died after an apartment fire in North Lauderdale, authorities confirmed.
The fire was reported around 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Courtyards Broward Apartments at 1820 SW 81st Ave.
“Our units responded and a second-floor unit was fully engulfed,” said Michael Sargis, of North Lauderdale Fire Rescue.
The units above it on the third and fourth floor also started to burn. Crews quickly got to work, but in the process found a man’s burned body on the second floor.
“It looked like there were signs of the body being damaged by fire, but they won’t know until the medical examiner takes the body for an actual cause,” Sargis said.
WATCH: Cellphone video shows damage left behind after North Lauderdale apartment fire:
(Video courtesy of Liz G., @egteacher1)
According to North Lauderdale Fire Rescue officials, one unit was destroyed in the fire and about five or six other units were damaged.
No other injuries were reported.
Resident Anthony Manggunio called it “a very harrowing experience.”
“It was unfortunate. The neighbor was handicapped, on a wheelchair,” he said. “One of the deputies was trying to break in. I really would commend her a lot, because she really risked her life trying to break the door down, trying to see if anybody was inside.”
Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Miranda Grossman confirmed that deputies also responded to the scene.
She said the building was evacuated and the fire has been extinguished.
Neighbors were outside for about three hours before they were let back in.
BSO’s Homicide detectives and Crime Scene units were called to the building to investigate what led up to the fire.
Grossman said investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office were also contacted and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The American Red Cross is assisting the families who have been displaced by the fire.
“Right now we’ve already assisted one, there are three, possibly three more that we are going to be able to assist,” said Mitchell Kassel of the Red Cross. “The other ones are not home, so we don’t know if they need assistance or not.”
The victim was identified by relatives as 51-year-old Carl Michael Rickards. They have created a GoFundMe page to help with his funeral expenses.