MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A fire emergency erupted in Miami Gardens as massive flames engulfed dozens of units at an apartment building, leaving nearly 200 people displaced.
Miami Gardens Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene of the blaze at the New World Condominium Apartments along the 39500 block of Northwest 177th Street, just before 10:30 a.m., Saturday.
“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.
Videos provided by MDFR and a 7News viewer captured dark billowing smoke that was visible for miles.
The blanket of smoke covered dozens of apartments as the fire quickly spread across the two-story building.
“I told my mom that I smelled smoke,” said Daniel, a young resident. “She told all of us to go run downstairs.”
“There were flames coming from the apartment, next to us and a lot of black smoke coming over,” said his mother, Cheree.
More than 40 MDFR units responded to the scene. The fire fight lasted most of the day, and at one point, part of the building’s roof collapsed.
Crews were able to stop the flames from spreading further and place the fire under control.
In total, officials said, 75 units were affected.
“Approximately half were destroyed as a result of a partial collapse of the roof, coupled with water damage and smoke and fire damage,” said MDFR Fire Chief Ray Jadallah.
Inspectors have deemed the building unsafe.
7News cameras captured residents grabbing what they could from their homes.
Others waited to see whether they would be allowed back inside.
“Everything that we own is inside the building, so we’re slowly processing the loss,” said Cheree.
Local leaders like Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava were seen showing their support, as the county, city and the American Red Cross offered some assistance.
“[We have been left with] the clothes that we have on our back,” said Cheree.
Impacted families are now trying to figure out their next move, but they’re thankful that they are able to walk away with what’s most important.
“Our health and our life,” said Herring Chambers.
As of Saturday night, no injuries have been reported.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter for residents who didn’t have a place to go.
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