Fire breaks out overnight at Miami home; rare birds killed

MIAMI (WSVN) - Residents of a neighborhood in Miami woke up to the sound of explosions after, officials said, a fire broke out in the back of a home, killing several exotic birds and burning several sheds and storage areas to the ground, early Sunday.

Miami Fire Rescue arrived at the scene of the blaze on Southwest 18th Avenue, near 20th Street, after receiving the call, shortly after 2 a.m.

“We were sleeping, and we started to hear noises in the back of the house,” said homeowner David Rodriguez. “Everything started to [catch] on fire.”

One neighbor told 7News he watched in shock as the fire spread from one shed to another.

The fast-moving flames and heavy smoke challenged firefighters. “We had a difficult time getting access to the property, so that delayed our ability to get water onto the fire at that time,” said Erik Pace from City of Miami Fire Rescue.

Crews were eventually able to enter the property and battle the flames. “We were able to save approximately three or four structures from it expanding and getting a lot worse,” said Pace.

Officials said neighbors reported hearing explosions. “There was some concern due to the propane tanks that were near,” said Pace. “There were some explosions that were heard. We were able to mitigate that issue.”

Firefighters said they had to deal with a dangerous recipe. In addition to propane tanks, crews had to deal with strong winds and a large oak tree overhead that had also caught fire.

“There is some damage to some of the houses — I believe one of them is vacant at this time — and also probably some smoke damage, as well, to the units that are directly next to the structure that was on fire in the rear of one of the homes,” said Pace.

Rodriguez said he is devastated. Several of the rare birds he kept in his backyard were killed in the fire.

The homeowner is demanding to know who is responsible. “I have birds that were born like two weeks ago,” he said. “Six of them are dead, consumed by the fire, and it’s devastating.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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