FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - An overnight Fort Lauderdale apartment fire has claimed the life of a 6-year-old girl.
According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, the fire began on the first floor at around midnight, Sunday, near Northeast Seventh Avenue and 11th Street. Fire rescue crews reported people were trapped.
A neighbor, William Dunmore, said he opened the door to the apartment, and all he saw inside was gray smoke and flames.
A woman, her boyfriend and several young children ran out of the apartment, but one little girl was missing.
“It was this screaming, just panic and everyone rushing around trying to do something,” said neighbor Robin Brockman.
“I ain’t seen nothing but gray smoke,” said Dunmore. “Went inside the kitchen, too much gray smoke, so I came back out because nobody showed me where the baby was at, and I seen flames in the back just coming up … but if I was shown where the baby was at, I would’ve went in there and got the baby.”
Neighbor Shawn Kochlany also tried to rescue the girl. “I even crawled on the floor trying to get into the apartment, but it was so smokey,” he said.
Dunmore added that three other children made it out safely with their mother.
“I asked her mama where the kid was at,” said Dunmore. “She didn’t tell me, so I couldn’t do nothing.”
Fort Lauderdale Fire Officials said they found a little girl in the bedroom of the apartment.
The child died as a result of the fire. The girl’s father, Leo Sears, identified her as Kaileen Averanga.
“Look at it,” said Sears, devastated. “I mean, my daughter is gone now!”
“There’s a few of us that put teddy bears down for the baby, you know, and we all feel his pain,” said neighbor Cheyenne Miller.
Sears wants to know what happened before neighbors stepped in to help.
“I feel like more could have been done,” said Sears. “I mean, all the kids were sleeping in one bunk bed. All the kids were removed except my daughter.”
The apartment sustained significant fire damage.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by both the police and fire department.
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