MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Crews battled the flames of a fast-moving fire in a two-story North Miami apartment building early Tuesday morning.
Chopper4 over the scene at 126th Street and NE 11th Avenue spotted heavy smoke and fire billowing out of the building second story windows and roofline.
Antwaund Francois said he is on summer break from school and planned to sleep in. When he smelled the smoke and saw the flames, he tried to help his neighbors.
“I knocked on the door and they didn’t want to answer so I just kick the door open,” Francois told CBS4 reporter Tiani Jones.
“All I heard was boom, boom, boom, and then he came in, he came in right, and he kicked my door down and then he was like ‘fire, get out, get out’,” said Alfred Pierre.
The young men then proceeded to make sure all of their family members were safe.
“So I tried to go back inside and get my uncle out. Then I ran back inside, I got him out and I was trying to get my stuff out but they got me out in time I couldn’t get anything,” said Pierre.
“I’m on (Sumer) break, I’m not supposed to be going through this, I’m supposed to be enjoying my life, just chilling and I got to go through this,” he added.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said 19 adults and five children will have to find another place to stay. Two of the building’s units were heavily damaged by the fire and four others suffered severe smoke damage.
The fire brought back memories for Merlande Richemond who said her apartment in the same complex burned down a couple of weeks ago.
“We’re staying in a motel for families split up who have nowhere to go,” said Richemond.
Francois and Pierre said the building’s owner recently installed new smoke detectors. They believe the fire was electrical in nature, but so far Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has not confirmed that.