By Carey Codd

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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – A three-alarm fire broke out at a North Miami-Dade County apartment building Wednesday afternoon.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews are watching the fire closely to make sure it doesn’t flare up again.

Fire investigators are on scene to try and determine exactly what happened to ignite the blaze at the 24 unit apartment building.

Fortunately there are no injuries but the fire has left several families homeless right before Christmas.

Fire tore through the Star Lakes Apartments in Miami Gardens just before 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Miami Dade Fire Rescue posted a video of the fire on Twitter.

The fire sent residents into the streets and firefighters racing to try and put out the blaze.

Johnnie Maye has lived here for nearly 5 years.

“I came outside and the whole top of the roof was burning,” Maye said.

She noted that the fire doesn’t appear to have burned her apartment but she and her husband are worried about their possessions.

“Even if the fire didn’t get inside, there’s water damage,” resident Thomas Wadley said. “Everything is ruined. The new furniture.”

Residents and people who live in the neighborhood watched firefighters race to get the fire under control.

A spokesperson for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue says they’re not sure what started the fire but it appears to have begun in one unit and spread through an attic that runs the length of the building.

“It’s a common roof that everybody shares and once the fire gets up there it travels and becomes a little difficult to contain,” said Lt. Felipe Lay with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

A witness named James said he was jogging when he saw smoke pouring from the building so he and others ran over to alert residents.

He said they heard an explosion and saw thick black smoke pouring from the building but he said he didn’t hear a smoke alarm.

“No smoke alarms. The smoke alarms went off after the fire department for here,” James said. “That makes no sense.”

For residents, sorting out what caused the fire and what can be done is secondary.

Right now they’re trying to figure out where they’ll live.

“Terrible, awful, a mess,” Maye said. “There’s no words for it. Especially this time of the year.”

One resident who was home at the time of the fire told CBS4’s Carey Codd that she didn’t hear smoke alarms go off until several minutes after the fire already started.

The Red Cross has been at the apartment building to assist the residents affected.

There is still no word on how many units in total were impacted and what caused the fire.

 

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