1 dead, 1 hospitalized after NE Miami-Dade strip mall fire

NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police are investigating after one person was found dead following a fire at a strip mall in Northeast Miami-Dade.

Businesses have been gradually reopening, Tuesday, after Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue responded to the strip mall along Northeast Sixth Avenue and 149th Street, early Tuesday morning.

The call to officials came in after, investigators said, a fire started at the back of the strip mall, in an outdoor electrical room near the Marcel Beauty & Variety Store.

Samuel Bienaime, a nearby business owner, said, “I just got here, and the power was shut off, and they said there was a fire last night, and somebody passed away. It’s very scary.”

A man identified only as “Clyde” said he knew the victims. He said they were homeless.

He heard one of them yell out and called 911 when he saw the flames.

“He come and called me and said, ‘Help, help, the meter room is on fire,'” Clyde said. “When I reached there, I see a lot of smoke coming up, black smoke, fire’s in the room, and all I could do is call 911. I couldn’t do nothing else.”

Upon their arrival, fire crews located a deceased victim. Another victim was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in unknown condition.

All that remains were melted meters and singed clothes and blankets, as fire investigators look into what happened.

Bienaime said, squatters have been an issue at the mall.

“It’s always a lot of people here, every night, every night, and I told the owner,” he said.

When the owner arrived to the scene, he refused to answer questions from media.

The owner of the variety store, Eve Joseph, said she was called to the scene because fire rescue had to break into her store to make sure the flames hadn’t spread inside.

Now, since the fire, she is dealing with flooding after pipes ruptured.

“It’s all the way in the back,” she said.

Business were without power for much of the morning. Now, the owners of the businesses are seeking answers.

“When I asked them how come it happened and they don’t tell me,” Joseph said and shook her head.

Those who knew the victim said it was a sad ending for somebody who was already down on his luck.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Police have yet to identify the victim, but those in the area said it was a man who went by the name “Noel.”

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