LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - Firefighters have put out a fire at an apartment complex in Lauderhill that sent two people to the hospital.
The fire broke out at a two-story unit at the Waterford Apartments located along the 7400 block of Northwest 44th Street, at around 2:30 a.m., Monday.
Officials said there were two people inside the apartment.
Ruth Fernandez, who owns the unit, said they are two acquaintances of hers who were staying there at the time.
Neighbors said the pair were able to get out of the apartment, but fire officials said they were taken to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
“It was a lot of fire,” one woman said. “It was just blazing through. The smoke was black.”
“I pressed the fire alarm to make everybody aware of what was going on,” said Markino. “Basically, everyone became aware and start pulling out their families, pets and stuff.”
“Upon first arrival, they found heavy smoke and flames,” said Lauderhill Fire Department Chief Jerry Gonzalez. “Crews quickly went into attack mode to stop the fire from penetrating into the other apartments adjacent to the fire apartment.”
Families in neighboring units woke up to heavy smoke.
One woman with a young child rushed out of her apartment.
“Ran out the house barefoot, called 911,” one woman said. “It was raining at the time. I have a 7-month-old, so it was really scary. It still smells in our apartment really bad. I’m not staying somewhere with a smell like that.”
Two cats, Tyga and Cheetah, also lived in the unit. Gonzalez said crews were initially unable to find them.
“We did a constructive search around the house, and nothing showed up,” said Gonzalez.
The cats, 2 and 3 years old, showed up hours later. After some wrangling, Fernandez got her pets back.
Fire officials said they believe the fire originated in the kitchen.
“There is more extensive damage in the kitchen area, which is usually the case when it’s the room of origin,” Gonzalez said. “It was extending, already, to the upstairs. Thankfully the firefighters got here quickly, and they were able to extinguish it.”
The unit where the fire started has been deemed unsafe.
Fernandez said she has two children, and while they’re OK, all their belongings and toys are gone.
“We’re going to have to start all over,” she said.
The property manager said this was not the only unit damaged.
“The one in the back,” she said. “There’s also– they have water damage, not fire.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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