POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A fast-acting father rushed into his Pompano Beach home after a fire had trapped his four children inside, leading them all to safety.
Ryan Rich said he was coming home from work late Saturday night to find his apartment unit ablaze.
“By the time I got to the door, it hit me,” he said.
The concerned father realized his four young children, who were sleeping in their bedroom, were in danger.
“[They were] in the room where the fire started,” he said.
Rich knew there was no time to waste, so he went inside.
“As soon as I walk in, the house is smokey. I turn off the breakers, get into the room, take my daughter off the bunk bed,” he said. “I grab my two younger ones, 1 and 2, off the bed, and I get them out of the house.”
The heavy flames ripped through multiple units at the apartment complex located off Dixie Highway, just south of Atlantic Boulevard.
Fortunately, everyone made it out safe, including all four of Rich’s children.
“Me being a father, I did what any other father would do,” he said.
Neighbors said the fire started before midnight, and some residents had no idea their building was burning.
“I just see cops everywhere, I see lights everywhere flashing, and no idea,” said resident Darrin Dean. “My dog was barking the whole night, no idea that there was a fire going on at all.”
First responders managed to contain the flames before they spread further.
Most units sustained smoke damage, but Rich’s apartment and his children’s room was reduced to rubble and ash.
“I didn’t know he had kids in there,” said neighbor Jean Desmore, “but it is what it is. Thank God nobody was hurt.”
Sunday evening, 7News cameras captured charred furniture in the apartment. The fire burned with such intensity that it charred the children’s bedroom window.
This community has been left to pick up the pieces, but residents said they are counting their blessings and thankful no one was seriously injured or killed.
“You don’t want to see no lives lost or anybody hurt, especially children,” said Desmore. “No matter what the situation may be or circumstances surrounding the fire, at least the kids were safe.”
“He’s OK, his kids are OK. It’s unfortunate he lost his home, but what’s a home without a family?” said Dean.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Neighbors said responding crews told them this was most likely an electrical fire.
The American Red Cross responded to the scene and is assisting anyone who was displaced.
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