Man arrested in connection to Miami Gardens fire that displaced over 50 people

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Gardens Police arrested a man in connection to an apartment complex fire that displaced more than 50 people.

According to police, 19-year-old Malachi Luke Wilder was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree arson and attempted felony murder. Wilder was also attempting to take his own life in the process, said police.

The 19-year-old appeared in bond court Thursday.

“You used a lighter and attempted to kill yourself by lighting a mattress on fire,” said Judge Renatha Francis, “but you did so in an apartment where there were other persons residing.”

“I just saw a bunch of fire and people running with dogs,” said one witness.

The fire sparked at the Crystal Lake Apartments, located along Northwest 207th Street and 27th Avenue, Wednesday.

Cellphone video showed a firefighter pulling one person from the building.

“While I’m walking down, everyone is running out,” said a resident. “The property managers are coming out, banging on the doors, ‘Get out, get out. There’s a fire.'”

The American Red Cross responded to the complex to tend to those who were displaced.

“More than 50 individuals were affected by the fire,” said Rebecca Torriani with the American Red Cross. “We have about 40 units that are now currently affected by the blaze.”

The damages are reportedly in excess of $1 million. Some residents returned to their units to retrieve whatever was left.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue returned to the complex on Thursday to put out any remaining hotspots.

No injuries were reported.

Wilder’s bond was set at $115,000.

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