MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An early morning fire in Little Havana left 54 people displaced on Friday.
The fire at an apartment building of SW 7th Street near 10th Avenue started around 1:30 a.m. Many of the families inside the building were asleep.
City of Miami Fire Rescue told CBS4 when they arrived, they witnessed people running out of the building and intense flames on the first floor.
“They saw a lot of fire, it was very intense, it was very hot. It was so hot that it blew out a couple of the windows of the first floor closest to where the scene of the fire may have been,” said Lt. Pete Sanchez with Miami Fire Rescue.
Fifty-four people living in the building’s 12 units were evacuated and all made it out safely. Firefighters were rushed back into the building to rescue a dog who also made it out without injuries.
“I heard an explosion like somebody was hitting a door,” said Mario Carvajal who said he called 911. “I smelled smoke and I could see something in the hallway and I told my wife to get out of the apartment.”
The fire caused extensive damage to the building’s electrical room and Florida Power & Light was called to shut the power off. The Red Cross was called to the scene to assist the dozens of people displaced.
“We thought somebody was fighting or something,” said Mario Cortiz, who lives in the building and said he woke up to the sound of people screaming. “You know, ‘get out, get out, get out everybody’! We didn’t hear an alarm.”
Albenis Castilblanco said he was also asleep when he heard what sounded like an explosion.
“I saw through the window there was a lot of fire. So I ran to my little daughter’s room, I took her and my wife and I went out the back door. Then, I jumped to the other apartment because my sister lives there and I took them out the back door but the fire was inside her apartment,” he said.
Miami Fire Rescue said it’s unclear how long the families will be displaced. The cause of the fire is under investigation.