DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Fire rescue crews have evacuated 250 people from an apartment building in Dania Beach after, officials said, its rooftop pool began to leak, causing major flooding in the luxury units below.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue units responded to the scene at The Place at Dania Beach, located at 180 East Dania Beach Blvd., just east of U.S. 1, at around 7 p.m., Friday.
Investigators said the pool, ruptured, causing water to seep into the units of the structure, which has only been open for about two years.
“At least 10,000 gallons from the swimming pool had leaked,” said BSFR Battalion Chief Michael Kane.
Residents described the chaotic scene as they made their way out of the building.
“Water was literally cascading down through the seven floors below,” said Kane.
“There was water rushing out of one of the doors,” said resident Courtney Sparks.
“It was coming through the elevator, steps, stairs, you know, all over,” said resident Theodore Alejandro.
“There’s a huge flood in the building. The pool has drained half of the water out, and it’s coming into the apartment,” said resident Bobbi Main Jackson.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Officials said water has seeped into the building beyond those units directly below the pool. In all, 144 units have been affected.
“Now, the water in the lower floors was a steady drip. However, in the upper floors, there was quite a cascade of water coming down through the light fixtures,” said Kane.
“There’s a couple of inches of water in the hallway, the elevator bays are flooded,” said Sparks.
Crews shut down Dania Beach Boulevard eastbound several blocks, cut the power and evacuated the residents.
“A lot of water. A lot of people are running,” said Alejandro.
“Obviously, you can imagine it’s an extremely dangerous situation with electric and water, as you might know,” said Kane.
7News cameras captured displaced residents standing outside the property. Some of them said they have nowhere to go.
Investigators suspect the culprit might be a ruptured pipe just beneath the pool.
“Electrocutions certainly were prevented by us cutting the power, but could have been in a situation here very easily,” said Kane.
Crews have pumped out the water that remained in the pool and are trying to figure out how to clean up the affected area and determine the source of the rupture.
Although the westbound lanes of Dania Beach Boulevard remain open, officials urged drivers to avoid the area.
Broward County Transit buses were brought in to temporarily accommodate the displaced residents, though they are not being taken to another location.
Residents said, while the assistance is helpful, leaving is not an option for them.
“We have a handicapped child with us. No one will let us get to the parking garage to get the car seat,” said Jackson. “We can’t drive her anywhere. We’re just stuck.”
Speaking with reporters just before 11 p.m. Dania Beach Assistant City Manager Candido Sosa-Cruz said the displaced residents will be staying at nearby hotels.
“The residents cannot go back into the building tonight due to the building having no power. The city has reached out to local hotels,” said Sosa-Cruz. “We’ve reached out to Hotel Morrison and Hotel Wyndham. The two hotels are pet-friendly, and the residents will be able to stay the night at these hotels at a reduced rate.”
Officials are letting residents go to their units in groups of 30 so they can pick up valuables to take with them to their hotel.
When asked whether or not residents will have to pay for their hotel stays, city officials said they hope the owners of The Place at Dania Beach will be able to resolve the matter with these residents.
As of 11 p.m. it remains unclear when residents will be able to return to their homes.
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