North Miami apartment building catches fire

19 adults, 5 children displaced

By Madeleine Wright - Reporter, Natalie Morera - Executive Producer, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - A North Miami apartment building caught fire Tuesday morning.

Sky 10 was over the building just after 6:30 a.m. as Miami-Dade firefighters worked to extinguish the fire burning along Northeast 11th Avenue and 126th Street.

The fire appeared to be under control just before 7 a.m.

One person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but others escaped injury.

Authorities said the fire started in a second-floor corner unit of the apartment building.

Firefighters said they had difficulty getting access to the fire. At first, firefighters couldn't get into the building because of personal objects blocking the front door, so they had to go in through the back door.

Battalion Chief Todd Easley said there was so much furniture and clothes stacked up that firefighters couldn't get in the front door.

When firefighters got to the unit where the fire started, they found more personal objects scattered about, so they had walk in single file, causing a delay.

"The personal belongings were located throughout the entire second floor, stacked up so that it allowed only access by one person at a time going to get through," Easley said.

Easley said it's important for residents keep their homes clear in case of an emergency.

"It also provides us easier access to quickly put out the fire or mitigate the damages, and possibly save your home from further damage," he said.

Local 10 News reporter Madeleine Wright spoke to two 15-year-old boys who ran out of their first-story apartment without any time to put on a shirt.

"The flames were big," One boy said. "It was like, I don't know how to explain it. It started to spread and you can see big smoke. Nobody could see nothing. Nobody could see anything."

No injuries were reported, but the owner of the unit where the fire started could be transported to a hospital as a precaution, a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue official said.

Officials said there is significant smoke damage to the building because smoke got into the rafters and spread throughout the roof of the building. 

Nineteen adults and five children were displaced because of the fire, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay said. 

The American Red Cross is helping 22 of the affected residents who need help by giving them a temporary place to stay. 

"I feel bad, because we got nowhere to go to sleep. We don't know what we're going to do," Fred Termitus said. 

Lay said two apartments were directly affected by the fire and four apartments were damaged by smoke. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

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