32 displaced after massive Orlando apartment fire

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A massive fire broke out at the Royal Isles Apartment on Yucatan Drive in Orlando on Wednesday morning, leaving 32 residents -- including 16 adults and 16 children -- without a home.

Jessenia Alvarez was walking outside to catch a ride to work when she noticed the building next to her was up in flames.  Immediately, she ran back inside to get her son. 

"Wake up!  Wake up! Fire! You need to call 911!" 

Diana Castro, her husband and four kids all in their beds inside this second floor apartment, heard screaming.    

"Everybody was screaming outside! Get out! Get out! It's fire and we ran, quickly," she said.

Firefighters arrived  and tried to knock down the flames in two upstairs apartments.

"Because of the amount of fire that we had, and the way that it was spreading to several other apartment buildings,, we quickly called out for a second alarm," said Assistant Fire Chief Paul Plaucher.  "Because the fire was so heavily involved in attic space we quickly went into a defensive mode."

"It was just really scary to see those big flames and to hear that roof collapse. It's a nightmare," said Castro, who lost everything.

But she knew it could have been worse. 

"Everybody is fine, thank God."

Twelve units were affected by the fire. The department says that the cause is under investigation and an arson investigator is on scene.

Watch the rest of the presser below.


The Red Cross has since responded and says that they have five disaster action team volunteers and two emergency response vehicles on scene serving five evacuees. Their first focus is providing immediate emergency relief and supplies. Then, as the situation becomes clearer, their team will meet with those families to address specific needs for shelter, recovery assistance, and financial support. 

The Salvation Army of Orlando is also working to help the victims of the fire, as they say they have sent a mobile feeding unit to the survivors of the fire. Water, snacks, and emotional and spiritual care are being provided to first responders and survivors.