MIAMI (WSVN) - An elderly man was hospitalized following a fire on Tuesday morning at Square Pie City, a pizza restaurant located at Miami Avenue and Northwest 39th Street.

Just before 6 a.m., the fire broke out in a building that houses an apartment complex on the second floor. The incident led to a significant emergency response, including two ladder trucks and half a dozen other fire rescue vehicles.

“When the units first pulled up, they could smell smoke, but they could not see any fire,” said Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll Jr. “As they started investigating, you could see there’s multiple businesses here and they identified a heavy amount of smoke inside of the pizza place.”

Carry Philips who lives in the area could smell the smoke, which woke her up early Tuesday morning.

“I woke up to the smell and it smelled like burning plastic and I was like ‘That’s not normal,'” said Philips.

According to Carroll, firefighters were able to control the flames within 15 minutes, but not before smoke affected the second floor.

“Fire crews started to access the second-floor area where we found an elderly male that was upstairs unable to get out of the building by himself,” added Carroll. “Fire crews stayed with him, and even used some of the respiratory equipment to try to being him down through the smoke and out to safety.”

Aerial footage from 7Skyforce captured the elderly man exiting the building. He was taken out of the building on a stretcher to an ambulance to be checked. He was then taken to the hospital, and while he suffered from respiratory issues, he is expected to be OK.

Although Carroll said the fire was contained to the pizza restaurant, one apartment unit had smoke damage. For ventilation purposes the windows and doors to nearby business and apartments are open.

“We were able to extinguish the fire but not before a lot of the smoke spread throughout the building,” said Carroll. “Even to the second floor where they had apartment units.”

The owner of the popular restaurant Jeremiah Bullfrog was featured on Deco Drive back in 2023 to show off his delicious famous Detroit-style pizzas.

“It’s an iconic building,” said Bullfrog. “It’s been a pizzeria for like 11 years. It was cool for us to come in, give it a little facelift, freshen it up and then bring in a different vibe.”

Now, Bullfrog exclusively shows 7News a video of the damage left behind from the fire.

“So this is the area where the fire was,” said a firefighter in the video. “This is just collateral damage from the heat.”

The owner went on a tour with Fire Rescue of his shop, recording the damage and flooded floors after firefighters put out the fire.

“They were here this morning and four inches of water and there’s soot everywhere,” said Bullfrog.

In the kitchen, equipment, racks and other materials are damaged or destroyed.

“The fire started somewhere in this room,” said the firefighter.

The devastation has left Bullfrog devastated as his pizza store had been open for a little more than a year.

“We’re kind of devastated right now. The kitchen is damaged. Pretty, pretty, pretty bad,” he said. “Your heart kind of breaks because you put so much so much work and love into your to your business.”

Bullfrog had to move fast after the fire to salvage what wasn’t destroyed by the fire.

“We’re lucky that we were able to salvage a lot of the food that was safe, it was contained in our walk-in cooler. It’s like a metal box,” he said.

However, Bullfrog has a plan to make sure his customers will be able to get a slice of his pizza soon.

“To support our staff, they were on the schedule to work today right? There’s nothing we can do right now but we are going to pop up at our friend’s pizzeria this weekend. So FREEHOLD Studios in Wynwood, we’ll be there this weekend serving Square Pie City,” he said.

Bullfrog said despite the fire he is lucky to see the community rally behind his shop.

“We’re lucky to have a very, very nice small community of restaurateurs. And the love and support from everyone has been just what’s been keeping us going,” he said.

Officials said thanks to Philips’ sensitive nose, it helped her alert security right away to call 911.

“I have like a super sensitive smell so it’s like I can smell things from like miles away,” she said. “Maybe it saved the day.”

Bullfrog said he believes the fire cause of the fire is electrical but the cause is still being investigated by fire officials.

North Miami Avenue was shut down between Northwest 38th Street and Northwest 40th Street during this incident but has since been reopened.

No injuries have been reported to any of the firefighters, but the cause of the fire is still unknown.

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