By Team

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Two people were taken to the hospital after an early morning apartment fire in Lauderhill.

The Lauderhill Fire Department said they received multiple calls about 2:30 a.m. about a fire at the Waterford Park apartment homes, off NW 44th Street near University Drive.

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“The first units on scene found heavy smoke and flames coming from this first floor apartment, it looked like from the kitchen area,” said Lauderhill Fire Chief Jerry Gonzalez.

About 20 people, including a toddler, were evacuated from the building.

“I came outside and I just saw smoke in the hallways, came out back and I realized the building was on fire,” said Jude Capricien.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the one unit before putting it out.

Fire at Lauderhill apartment (CBS4)

Ruth Fernandez, who owns the unit where the fire occurred, said an acquaintance and the woman’s boyfriend were staying in her place for a few weeks and that’s who was home when the fire started.

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“My next-door neighbor called me and said oh my god Ruth your house is burning, your house is on fire,” she said.

Two cats who live in the unit went missing in the aftermath of the fire but returned to the apartment later in the morning. They’ve been reunited with Fernandez.

The two people taken to the hospital were treated for smoke inhalation.

Fernandez said she fears the fire wasn’t an accident. She added that she’s thankful her cats are okay and that she and her family weren’t the ones home when it started.

“Everything is destroyed, there’s nothing salvageable. It’s bad,” said property manager Patty Vega.

Now Fernandez, and her two boys ages two and three, will have to find a new place to live.

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“My whole life was in there, my kids, my stuff, everything is in there. We’ve been here five years and nothing ever happens,” she said. Team