Officials: Little Havana apartment fire may have been intentional

MIAMI (WSVN) - A fire that sparked at an apartment building in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, leaving over a dozen families displaced, may have been set on purpose, officials said.

Flames ripped through the 11-unit structure, located near Northwest 11th Avenue and Sixth Street, Friday night,

One of the victims, Richard Rio, said he is trying to figure out what to do next.

“I don’t know why anybody would be so mad at somebody, at just one person, to try to kill everybody,” he said.

Rio said he barely escaped from the burning building.

“I just laid down and closed my eyes, man, and ‘wa, wa, wa,’ the fire alarm starts going off,” he said.

Rio and 15 other families made it out just in time.

“From there to the back fire exit is not but 10 feet, but we couldn’t make it that far,” he said. “We had to jump out the window. Sliced up my leg pretty good doing it, and I jump to the ladder and slide down, and I was so freaked out.”

“When we arrived, we encountered heavy smoke and flames showing from the second story of a two-story building and also showing from the roof,” said Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez.

Neighbors helped each other escape. Firefighters rescued a teenager with just minutes to spare.

The American Red Cross responded to the scene to help residents find a place to stay for the night.

Officials with the Red Cross on Saturday said 24 people were burned out of their homes, including three children.

Rio fears he will have to start over.

“Someone stole every single thing I own last February, and we were just getting it all back, you know what I mean?” he said.

Firefighters transported one adult to the hospital with a minor leg injury.

Officials continue to investigate.

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