MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – A fire in a Miami Beach condo originally called “suspicious” has been ruled accidental. Residents since have been allowed to reoccupy the building.

It broke out in a unit on the third floor of the Mantell Plaza at 255 W 24th Street.

Approximately 60 people were evacuated from the building.

“The fire department knocked on my door hard and I saw smoke, so they us we have to get out,” said Khaled Gasha.

Charles Silberman and his dog lived in the third floor unit where the fire started.  They were checked out for smoke inhalation and are doing okay.

The president of the building’s condo association at first claimed the fire was ‘suspicious’ because Silberman was being forced to move out because the owner was going to sell it.

“It was the tenants last day in the building and who knows what goes through people’s heads,” said condo president Ray Breslin.

“He’s wrong, his motivation is retaliation,” said Silberman.

Breslin said Silberman had ‘butted heads’ with the association in past. Silberman successfully sued the association and got a settlement.

The building’s residents, who were forced to find another place to stay overnight, said the important thing is no one got hurt.

“Everyone is okay.  There is damage but its just things, material things, every thing can be replaced,” said Lee Romi.

Fire crews were able to contain the fire to Silberman’s unit.   Smoke and water, however, damage units on the first and second floors.  Water also seeped into the building’s electrical systems which had to be shut down.

Repairs were being made and residents waited on word as to when they were able to return to their homes.


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