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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami daycare center had to be evacuated Monday morning after a nearby vacant building went up in flames.

The fire erupted in the single-story building at 80th Street and NE 1st Avenue.

Arriving crews were met with flames shooting out of the apartments’ windows and thick smoke billowing into the air.

The fourplex building was vacant. Last year the city declared the building unsafe and uninhabitable.

Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll said they evacuated 30 children, ages one through nine, from the Bola Childcare and Learning Center next door to the burning building due to the smoke.

“(The smoke) was dark, it was black, it was pitch black coming out, so we get all the children out,” said daycare owner Josephine Akinbiyi.

Parents showed up to get their kids, grateful the daycare acted quickly to evacuate.

“Oh my God it’s a fire at my child’s school. So I had to hurry up and rush to come get my babies,” said Bernida Ternelent.

Carroll said while the building was vacant they were concerned that it may be otherwise.

“A lot of times with some of these vacant buildings we have squatters that are inside and a lot of debris in there which makes it very difficult to do a search,” he said.

A search of the building when the flames were out turned up nothing.

Miami firefighters say a squatter using a makeshift stove may have caused the fire and fled.

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