Officials investigate suspicious fire in Miami Beach

100 tenants displaced after fire at Mantell Plaza

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Miami Beach Fire Rescue officials are investigating a suspicious fire that began about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mantell Plaza, 225 W. 24th Street.

Among the 100 people who have been in the process of relocating for the night, only a handful of tenants were still at the complex after being burned out of their building.

MBFR said the fire started in a third-floor unit occupied by a man and his dog.

It didn't take long to put out the fire, which was contained to the single apartment, but other parts of the five-story art deco building suffered some smoke and water damage.

No injuries were reported.

When asked if the man in question intentionally set his apartment on fire, Capt. Adonis Garcia said, "We can't answer that just yet, but it's under investigation. No one is in custody at the current moment, but more details will be released as soon as the investigation is over."

"You know, things happen. You remember what happened in Hialeah a couple of days ago," said tenant Jeff Wilson. "At least no one here got shot. No one is dead. So a little bit of fire and water, I think, is the least of our problems."

"On the good side, there was a dog in the apt who died and was revived by Miami Beach Fire Rescue," said Garcia.

The cleanup crew dried up the water inside with vacuum cleaners.

Although the fire damage doesn't appear to be severe, the city wouldn't allow anyone to stay in Mantell Plaza until inspectors can make sure the building is structurally sound.

In the meantime, tenants have been escorted back inside to grab a few belongings, and the city is offering Miami Beach High School's gym as a shelter.

The Red Cross has been providing water and other bare essentials for the 100 displaced people.

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