NORTH MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Two families will have to find temporary shelter after an explosion and subsequent fire ripped through a North Miami Beach duplex early Monday morning.

Flames erupted in the building at 91 NE 168th Street around 4 a.m.

“I was in Iraq and it sounded like an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) went off,” Anthony Rea told CBS4. “It was loud. I mean it blew the doors off and it made every picture in the house come off the wall and got knocked down that’s how loud it was and the little boy was screaming and yelling.”

Anthony, his wife, and their 8-year-0ld son were all asleep when the loud noise awoke them and Anthony found that his home was on fire.

He went to help his wife who is bound to a wheelchair and get others out of the home.

“I had to grab her,” Anthony said, “and then she said ‘go get my wheelchair.’ When I went in there, smoke overcame me. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”

Neighbor Lyn Cossairt said flames were coming out from all side of the building.

Inside one of the residences, firefighters found a tank of fuel which is used for welding. They also reported that they saw some ‘sparking’ inside the residence. Florida Power and Light was contacted and shut the power off to the building.

The home is completely destroyed and the Red Cross is assisting the family in finding a place to stay and with other essentials.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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