MANATEE -- Workers at a Bradenton apartment complex were able to control a wall fire in a first floor unit before it did major damage Friday.
"I smelled smoke, but I didn't see it anywhere at first," said Cynthia Miller, who was on the phone outside her Cypress Winds apartment unit about noon.
Her husband, Luke, then ran out to tell her their apartment was on fire.
West Manatee Fire Rescue's Deputy Fire Marshal Jim Davis said a preliminary investigation revealed the fire was started by a weld in a copper pipe when it overheated inside an air conditioning unit inside the wall in the unit at Cypress Winds, 6904 Manatee Ave. W.
The Millers ran into the smoke-filled room to grab special items and pull furniture from the wall. Their daughter, Bella, 3, made her father promise to "not get fire on" him, Luke Miller said. Outside, foremen who work on site put holes in the wall to ventilate the flames while extinguishing them.
"The damage is minimal," said Matt Kyzer, property foreman. "Usually the building goes up. Thank goodness we could prevent that from happening."
As a precaution, all units in the building were evacuated. When West Manatee Fire Rescue arrived, responders checked other units for signs of damage or spreading flames, Davis said. Insulation and other building material were removed from the wall. No injuries were reported. All residents were able to return to their homes except the Millers, who will be temporarily lodged at a hotel.