Residents displaced after fire rips through Orlando apartment building
ORLANDO, Fla. - Multiple apartment homes have been left unlivable after a fire broke out at the complex in Orlando Thursday morning.
Officials said firefighters were headed to a separate emergency call when they saw smoke coming from the apartment building located on S. Semoran Boulevard near Lee Vista Boulevard.
The crew stopped to investigate the smoke and saw that the 2-story building was on fire and diverted another unit to the original call, District Chief Aaron Rhodes of the Orlando Fire Department said.
Pete Cruz lives in a nearby apartment and said he was napping when firefighters told him everyone needed to get out. "A big dude just comes in. I didn't near no explosion or nothing. He just came in and said is there anyone else in the house? I was like no, no. He was like get out, there's a fire in the building!"
Cruz, his wife, and their six-month-old son live just steps away from the apartment that was burning. "Right there, I just grabbed my baby, wrapped him in a blanket, made sure he wasn't smelling smoke, my wife grabbed a couple of stuff with her, I just grabbed some clothes, and we left right out the house, man," Cruz said.
The fire was heavily involved on the back side of the complex. Crews were able to deploy a hose line and douse it with water but ran into an issue when a roof collapsed.
"We did have a small collapse of the roof, which caused some areas of the fire to continue to go on and that caused some manpower shortages, so we called a second alarm and eventually were able to get a fire stop on that and contained it to the actual apartment of origin," Rhodes said.
About 50 fire rescue personnel responded to the fire and were able to extinguish it. No one was hurt in the incident.
Crews said no one was in the apartment where the fire started, but three residents who were inside their apartments on the other end of the building had to be evacuated.
Five of the eight apartment units are now uninhabitable.
"There is one unit that is a complete loss. The unit adjacent to that has some significant damage from smoke and water, and then there are three others that have some smoke and a little bit of water intrusion," Rhodes said.
Investigators are working to learn the cause of the fire.
The Red Cross says they are supporting 15 of the 21 people living in the building, who have now been left homeless.