LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - Firefighters lowered a woman and her children to safety from a fourth floor balcony after a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Lauderhill, Monday morning.
According to Lauderhill Fire Rescue, the fire broke out at the complex located at 2551 N.W. 41st Ave., just after 11:30 a.m. Officials said the three-alarm fire spread across an entire corner unit on the fourth floor of the apartment complex.
At noon, 7News cameras captured heavy smoke pouring out of the completely burned unit. The fire swept quickly through the kitchen, into the living room, to the balcony and even the bedrooms, destroying the apartment.
On the other side of the building from where the fire burned, a mother and her children were trapped on the fourth floor. According to police, the woman, later identified as Oshina Graham, and her children were seen in distress standing outside on the balcony adjacent to the apartment on fire.
Graham said she and her children were unable to leave the unit through the front entrance and at one point had considered jumping from the balcony to avoid the flames.
The mother said she had thrown mattresses and cushions to the ground and was contemplating tossing her children. “I was trying to throw them because I had already thrown the mattresses, so they could actually catch them down there,” said Graham, “but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that because it was kind of risky and too far from the floor.”
As the flames grew, others tried to help Graham.
“We lined up mattresses on the ground,” Roy Dawkins said, “and as she was about to throw her baby — I was actually underneath — the fire truck came.”
Using a ladder truck, firefighters transported Graham, her 4-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son safely to the ground.
“It is a little more of an adrenaline rush, but it comes [as] second nature,” said Lauderhill Fire Rescue firefighter Daniel Speerin.
A pregnant woman inside was also rushed to the hospital. Both her and her baby are expected to be OK.
Officials said the flames did not spread beyond the apartment it sparked in, but other units suffered smoke and water damage.
Twenty families have been displaced as a result.
By 1 p.m., the smoke stopped seeping out of the apartment, and the fire was under control.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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