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POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – Two young children were killed when a fire started at the Banyan Club apartment complex in Pompano Beach Saturday morning. The young victims were five-year-old Sofia Melendez and her five-month-old sister Abigail Espinoza.
“Finding put about this news all of a sudden is something that hurts in the heart,” said Carlos Posadas, a friend of the family. He said he came from work as soon as he heard what happened.
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue responded around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, arriving to flames pouring out the window of apartment 314.
Neighbors called 911 and even tried to get inside to help, but the flames and smoke were too strong.
“We broke the window with a fire extinguisher,” Emanuel Dupree said. “We tried to yell to see if there were kids. There were no parents. Nobody. So, we basically let the fire keep going.”
Kenia Garcia also lives in the complex. She said she used to take care of the five-year-old and can not imagine what the parents are going through.
“To think that it’s burning and that my children could be there, since I have a small girl as well,” she says.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said the baby and the little girl lived there with their mother, 23-year-old Jocelyn Melendez. Her 15-year-old sister, Saidy, was watching them while she went to work.
Investigators have not confirmed if she was inside when the fire started or if there was anyone else in the apartment at the time. The girls were found dead in a bedroom.
“My heart goes out to the families affected by this. I hope this never happens again,” said Kim, who lives nearby.
“These children had a short-lived life. It’s unfortunate,” she said.
No one else was hurt in this fire, but there was some smoke and water damage to the other apartments.
Pompano Beach Fire Inspectors and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire.