More than 2 dozen still relying on Red Cross for shelter after Miami Gardens condo fire

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Dozens of families are trying to figure out what’s next after a devastating fire ripped through a condo complex in Miami Gardens, displacing more than 100 residents.

More than two dozen of them are still relying on the American Red Cross for shelter as they try to salvage what they can.

Making matters worse, the building has no fire insurance, so the victims are, aside from the Red Cross’s help, on their own.

Seventy-seven-year-old Valerie Hunter is one of those residents.

“I’m just angry,” Hunter said. “If get a touch of anger, then I cry.”

Hunter says building management is what’s making her cry. One resident of a nearby building calls them “incompetent.”

She said her home of more than 30 years was somewhat spared by the fire. She’s on the first floor and only suffered some water damage.

Hunter said a young man went door-to-door, alerting her and her neighbors to the fire, helped her out of her home, before flames gutted the building’s upper floors.

As she sat inside a Red Cross shelter, she said she’s grateful.

“I pray, I ask Jehovah for grace, for love and for protection for everybody,” Hunter said.

Back at the complex, Gustavo Gonzalez and his wife, Naomi, hoped to get access to their home of more than 20 years to salvage anything they could.

Firefighters said the structure had to be deemed safe first.

“(The fire) stopped in front of my apartment,” he said.

Meanwhile, Janet Barnes’ disabled sister was also displaced.

“It’s bad. It’s bad,” Barnes said. “I feel so bad for everybody that was impacted. It’s sad.”

But Barnes said she’s hopeful.

“I just have faith in God that everybody’s lives will be restored and people will get the things that they have lost,” she said.

Local and state officials are collaborating with the Red Cross to provide long-term help for the victims.

About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.