MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami fire officials are monitoring an apartment building through the night after a balcony fire forced a mass evacuation Wednesday evening.
The fire started on the balcony of a fourth floor unit at 655 NW 54th Street.
Fire captain Ignatius Carroll told CBS4 it appears an 11-year old girl started the fire while she was sewing outside on the balcony.
The girl’s 15-year old brother, who did not want to be identified, said, “She was trying to be creative with something. And then she threw the matches behind her back and she didn’t see it. Then everything got on fire.”
Just after 7 p.m. fire trucks rushed to the 60 unit apartment building where fire quickly spread through the apartment the girl was in with her mother, a 6-year old sister and her 15-year old brother.
Dark smoke also rapidly overtook one floor after the other.
Firefighters struggled at first because officials say the fire was so hot, not only did start melting safety equipment like the fire alarms in the hallway. They also found no fire protection equipment, like hoses, in the building.
¨The firefighters went up there and didn’t find any connections,¨said Carroll. ¨So with quick thinking, it gave them the idea to break into the apartment and pull the line from outside up to the fourth floor and take it to the other side.¨
Carroll said eight people were treated for smoke inhalation. All are expected to fine. The American Red cross was on its way late Wednesday night to offer help to those needing a place to stay.
Carroll said officials will need to reevaluate the building´s fire protection equipment to make sure it´s all works and the building is up to code.