MARGATE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida man is fighting for his life after, officials said, he was found unresponsive inside his burning apartment, early Saturday morning, but his son told 7News he’s confident his father will recover.

Residents at the apartment complex, located at 437 North Laurel Drive in Margate, said heavy smoke woke them up. “The smoke was coming from the kitchen, and I just took the phone and called 911,” said Eduardo Nunez.

Margate-Coconut Creek Fire Rescue crews responded quickly to unit 437 at the complex. The call came in just after 3 a.m.

“They banged on our doors and said, ‘Everybody’s got to evacuate the building. There’s a fire in the building,'” said neighbor Joyce Taylor.

Officials said crews found the victim in the bedroom. “While extinguishing the fire, they also found a male victim in his bedroom face down, unconscious,” said Margate Fire Chief Dan Booker. “When they found him, he wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse.”

Residents stood outside and watched as firefighters got that man out of the apartment. Rescuers were able to resuscitate him on the way to Northwest Medical Center, where he is listed in critical condition.

The victim’s son, Michael McGee, later identified the resident as Rick McGee. “He’s breathing on his own, but he’s still asleep,” said Michael. “He’s going to wake up. He’ll be fine.”

Michael McGee
Michael McGee

7News cameras captured the charred apartment unit in the aftermath of the blaze. The unit was later boarded up.


Saturday evening, Michael McGee stopped by the apartment he used to call home in between visits to the hospital. “I came just to see the damage and just to get a good look at what possibly could have gone wrong,” he said.

Michael said he didn’t find out about the blaze until around 10 a.m.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to Rick McGee’s unit.

Now it’s up to the State Fire Marshal and the Margate Police Department to determine the cause of the fire. “It looked like it started in the kitchen area, but right now it’s still under investigation,” said Booker.

In the meantime, Michael said he’s confident he’ll be speaking to his father soon. “He’s my father, the strongest man in the world,” he said. “He’s going to wake up.”

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