Massive fire at 4-story Miami apartment building displaces at least 40 people – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

MIAMI (AP/WSVN) — A massive fire broke out at a four-story apartment complex in Miami on Monday morning, resulting in more than 50 people being evacuated.

Firefighters and police officers arrived at the building just west of Interstate 95 near downtown Miami after receiving calls about a fire around 8:15 a.m. Monday, and began rescuing residents from the building’s balconies, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said during a news conference. Firefighters surrounded the building, coordinating their attack on the west side while evacuating residents from the east.

“We had approximately 126 firefighters, men and women from the fire department, that fought this blaze for about eight hours,” said Suarez.

Suarez also said arriving first responders also found a man with gunshot wounds at the scene. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in critical condition. Officials said the shooting is part of an active investigation.

A suspect in the shooting, later identified as 73-year-old Juan Francisco Figueroa, was in custody and facing felony charges, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and attempted felony murder.

Three firefighters were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital due to heat exhaustion and were in stable condition, Suarez said during a news conference. Two have since been discharged, said Lt. Pete Sanchez, a spokesperson with the City of Miami-Fire Rescue. In addition, at least one resident was being treated for smoke inhalation, he said.

The gunshot victim, who was later identified as 30-year-old Feder-One Biotte, was listed as critical.

Atlantic Housing Management, the company that manages Temple Court apartments, said in a statement that one of their employees was found shot inside the complex.

“We are still determining the cause of these events, and we are checking for other injuries. Police are investigating, and we will help in whatever ways we can,” the management company’s statement said. “We are grieved by all that has happened today, and our thoughts and prayers are with our team member and his family and residents of the Temple Court community.”

7Skyforce showed flames rising from the building along with large plumes of smoke several hours after the fire started. At least two ladder trucks were pouring water and foam onto the building.

The fire forced crews into a defensive mode, working from outside the building and utilizing the nearby Miami River to shoot gallons of water onto the structure to combat the flames.

The apartment complex consists of one-bedroom and studio units near the Miami River. The flames spread through the historic 1920s wood-framed building, causing significant damage and leading to the roof collapsing.

“It was a wood-frame structure which explains the intensity,” Sanchez said.

As of early evening, Sanchez said the fire “was under control and no longer spreading, but it still needs to be extinguished.”

Residents from the building, many of them elderly, were taken to a staging area at Jose Marti Park where they were offered food and any medications they needed, Suarez said. Firefighters evacuated more than 50 people.

Miami Fire Rescue and other volunteers bringing in cots as part of an all hands on deck approach to help the dozens of residents who lost it all in the fire. Every person was accounted for.

“We have 43 people in Jose Marti Park and the property management company is renting a hotel for all 43 of them after tonight to stay for the next two weeks,”

Staffers from Miami-Dade County Commissioner Keon Hardeman’s office dropping of supplies for the displaced.

“In the bag we have blankets, water, water bottles, after a long day that they didn’t have covering or something warm,” said Mandy Brown with the commissioner’s office.

The American Red Cross has also been activated to provide additional housing for the affected residents.

“Our hope is we will be able to place them in permanent housing as quickly as possible,” Suarez said. “Obviously people are very emotional. They might not be able to get anything that was in those units. Some are worried about their pets. It’s been very upsetting, very traumatic.”

Smoke from the fire was also drifting over Interstate 95, and much of downtown Miami.

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