MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A woman has been arrested after a fire at a Miami Beach apartment building left three people hurt.
The fire broke out in a seven-story building at 3621 Collins Avenue. Officials say the fire started in an elevator shaft.
The fire was put out quickly but lingering smoke was more of an issue. Residents were evacuated gasping for air, some had to be given oxygen on the scene.
From the ground people could be seen breaking their apartment windows for ventilation.
“I just gasped for air and I actually thought of jumping out of the window and then I went into the hallway and it was filled with smoke,” said resident Linda Bladholm.
The entire building was evacuated but fire officials say one person was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center after she was hurt attempting to lower herself from the third floor with bed linens and fell, trying to escape the smoke.
She’s listed in critical but stable condition.
Two others were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital for smoke inhalation.
Tenant Luis Hernandez was among the first to call 911, he says he first left his apartment at 3 am, an hour before the fire.
“Earlier I saw a lady creating a fire outside and then I left and when I came back I saw fire, the building was on fire up to the roof and then I try to go upstairs but I couldn’t breathe so I got out.”
This could prove to be a critical part of the investigation into how the fire started.
Police later arrested a woman and charged her with arson.
Miami Beach Police placed 60-year-old Phyllis Carroll under arrest.
According to an arrest report, she admitted to police that she started a fire on the outside of the building.
She denied setting the fire on the inside of the building that caused the evacuation and led to three residents being injured.
Police say the fire that occurred inside the building is still under investigation.
The Red Cross is now on scene assisting displaced residents.