Fifth Fire In A Week Tears Through Miami Beach Building

MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – For the fifth time in a week, fire crews rushed to extinguish a vacant building fire on Miami Beach.

On Wednesday night, a building on the 1800 block of James Avenue erupted in flames not far from where three other buildings were torched. Four Miami Fire trucks assisted Miami Beach units in putting out the flames.

The building was reportedly going under renovations at the time, and the person who started the fire somehow got around a security guard who was patrolling the property.

Fire officials believe a serial arsonist may be responsible for setting all of the fires.

On Tuesday night, the former Copley Terrace Apartments on the 2100 block of Washington Avenue at went up in flames.  The building has been empty for years. Firefighters from Miami Fire Rescue assisted Miami Beach firefighters in putting out fire and keeping the flames from spreading to any adjacent buildings.

On Monday, fire erupted in the city’s Collins Park neighborhood at the vacant Collins Plaza Hotel at 318 20th St.

Last Wednesday fire crews were called to a massive fire two blocks away at the vacant Tyler Apartments located at 420 21st Street.

The city is also looking into a garbage can fire on the city’s 34th Street boardwalk over the weekend that charred a pagoda.

While Miami Beach Fire investigators can not say for certain each fire was arson, they have very strong suspicions that they were.

“Another fire, it is very concerning,” said Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera as she surveyed the scene of the Washington Street fire which destroyed a building built in 1938. “It puts lives at risk, the residents lives and the firemen’s lives and its destroying the historic district here.”

The mayor said two of the fires were just blocks away from each other which raised a number of red flags.

“We are very concerned that it was arson,” said Herrera.

“”We’re not prepared to say all of these fires were deliberately set but that’s one of the alternatives,” said Assistant Miami Beach Fire Chief Javier Otero.

A reward of $3500 is being offered for information which leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for setting the fires.

Anyone with information on the fires is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS or the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (877) 662-7766.


    Why does MBFD always need assistance to fight a fire. What are we paying for with our MB tax money. Fancy trucks and inadequate fire protection?

    • MR.

      First of all, you obviously are not a firefighter. MBFD has four stations. They respond to more fire/medical calls then any other fire department of equal size and are considered one of the busiest fire departments in SFL. A fire of this size takes a lot of personnel regardless of the size of the fire department. When a fire is going on, the fire departments still need personnel and units to respond to routine fire/medical calls.

    • FF Wife

      It is normal protocol for neighboring departments to lend mutual assistance. The reasons are numerous, but the most important of those is safety. Assistance is not always needed, but having additional personnel and apparatus on standby reduces safety risks to personnel and allows more efficient resolution. MBFD is an excellent and accredited department, and those it serves are fortunate. MBFD also lends assistance to other departments, by the way. You should make it a point to meet your local firefighters and ask them personally any questions you may have.

  • Happy to Serve

    Frank, you shouldn’t believe everything you read or hear. The MFD units staged at Beach High or responded to other calls while the Fancy MBFD trucks fought the fires. The crews from MBFD and MFD did an excellent job. You should appreciate them instead of being so critical with your misinformation.

  • Me

    I’m honestly surprised worse hasn’t happened in Miami Dade County. This county and city (Miami) is a third world cesspool. In Miami, you have millions of people from other countries mixed togther (Mostly Cuba), the English language is almost extinct here, and every single leader in this county either has been caught and arrested on corruption charges or has yet to be. Welcome to third world Miami.

  • South Beach Guy

    I have no problem with some nut taking out old buildings that are just a waste and eye sore, but burning a building being fixed… Not so good with that .

    • Keys J

      Clearly you have no concern for, or knowledge of, the far-reaching implcations of a crime like this…waste of taxpayer/city dollars to fight it, possible future increase in taxes as a result, waste of firefighter manpower and resources, endangering lives of firefighters, cops and citizens, etc. It’s not all about aesthetics. Educate yourself. A mind is a terrible thing to waste!

  • South Beach Guy

    Seems that the guy setting the fire is getting more confident. Could become a very dangerious guy. He will eventually go for an occupied building.

  • Bob Hamilton

    Is the picture from the actual fire or just a picture of a fire in case we forgot what fire looks like?

  • dennis dehart


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