MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida nonprofit is lending a helping hand to the nearly 200 people left without a home after a fire destroyed dozens of units at a Miami Gardens apartment building.
7News cameras captured fire marshals with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue inspecting the remains of one of the units at the New World Condominium Apartments that was razed, as they tried to determine what sparked the flames.
Also on hand were volunteers with Global Empowerment Mission.
“We’ve got towels, blankets, pillows and some cash cars to provide their immediate needs,” said Kimberly Bentley’s, GEM’s Director of Field Missions.
Saturday morning, Miami Gardens Police and more than 40 MDFR units responded to the scene of the blaze along the 39500 block of Northwest 177th Street.
“We’re getting numerous calls of people panicking in the building, unknown where the smoke or fire is coming from,” said a dispatcher in radio transmissions.
The flames ripped through 75 apartments and caused part of the roof to collapse, officials said.
“My wife was here. I was at my job,” said a resident who identified himself as Antonio.
Dozens of families were forced out with nothing but the clothes on their back. The building has since been deemed uninhabitable.
Antonio said he has not been able to return to his unit to grab what he can.
“I have to speak with somebody to get us something, I don’t know,” he said.
Antonio was among dozens of residents who returned on Sunday to see what they could salvage as they try and restart.
“Very, very difficult. I need to move, I need tomorrow to find an apartment for rent. Very difficult time,” said Antonio.
Cameras captured Bentley and others with GEM as they took boxes of supplies out of a truck.
Residents who showed up said they were happy and thankful, and they acknowledged that the outcome could have been a lot worse.
Fire officials said they suspect roof repairs taking place at the building may have sparked the fire, but the official cause remains under investigation.
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