LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - Fierce flames ripped through an apartment building in Lauderhill, leaving residents in four units displaced.
Video from Lauderhill Fire Rescue captured flames and dark smoke underneath the roof of the building, located along the 5300 block of Northwest 25th Street, Sunday afternoon.
“I said, ‘This is crazy. Something huge happened,'” said area resident Patricia Salmon.
Levit Moss, one of the residents who was impacted, said the blaze spread rapidly.
“I saw the smoke and smelled the smoke, and two minutes after that, you had to get out,” he said. “It was pretty quick; it happened really fast.”
Families who live in the building ran out of their homes.
“I have my car, my health, my kids, you know,” said resident Jackie Moss.
Firefighters from several departments responded just before 2:30 p.m.
It took crews more than two and a half hours to get the flames under control.
The fire was so massive that first responders called for more firefighters to help.
Officials said the fire destroyed four apartments, and the damage is extensive.
Even after night fell, firefighters kept their eyes on the building and put out hot spots.
“It was a tricky fire, and what we’re identifying, what appears is that they did roof work, don’t know when, but it looks like they roofed over an existing roof,” said Lauderhill Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Levy, “so the fire appears to have been running in between the old roof and the new roof, so it’s making it quite difficult for firefighters to attack the fire.”
Officials said the fire started in one unit and spread through the attic to the other homes.
“We’re able to tell that the fire started down low and worked its way up, and in the other apartments, the fire started up top and worked its way down, so everything is a complete loss,” said Levy.
Four families have now lost the place they call home, including Mary Patterson.
“I had just come home from church and had sat my purse down,” she said.
At first she couldn’t tell where the fire was coming from, then she checked on her granddaughter.
“She was in the room, in the bed, and the fire, I just see fire coming down from the ceiling,” Patterson said.
There was only time to get out.
“We lost everything,” Patterson said. “I have nothing. We have nothing.”
She does have good friends.
“Might be an ole grill and everything, but it gonna serve a good purpose,” said Christopher Porter who began cooking for his neighbors, Monday.
“We just getting set up,” he said. “It’s MLK day, and we gonna celebrate even though we had this unfortunate accident we had happen.”
And though investigators were back out Monday, it could take awhile to figure out what caused this fast-burning fire.
“There’s so much damage,” said Levy. “It’s gonna be up to the investigators to figure that one out.”
Volunteers with the American Red Cross are helping these families who have lost everything.
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