More than a dozen neighbors and bystanders huddled in groups under the red flashing lights of the fire trucks parked outside an apartment building along Flamingo Boulevard Monday night.
It was the start to a new year no one wanted. A fire broke out in a first-floor apartment in the Flamingo Garden complex.
Darialy Alvarez, 17, said she and her mother live in the apartment next door to where the fire is believed to have started. Their family was visiting for New Year’s Eve celebrations when they heard a noise coming from the neighbor’s apartment. Her mother told her it was a fire and she called 911 as they went outside.
Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue crews were called to 2013 Flamingo Boulevard shortly before 6 p.m. Monday. Battalion chief Doug Brett said no one was inside the apartment when firefighters arrived to the two-alarm fire and those that lived in the apartment had made it out safely.
The family that lived in the apartment, two adults and one child were displaced due to the fire. The Red Cross was called to the scene to assist the family, according to Brett.
Brett said one apartment in the building was damaged in the fire, and other surrounding units likely had smoke damage.
“I started panicking because our house was getting smoke too,” Alvarez said. “It was really scary.”
Alvarez said as other residents left the building, flames were coming out of the downstairs apartment.
Ketajanay Spears, who also lives in the building, said she heard something just before seeing a cloud of black smoke.
Another neighbor, Homari Williams, said he saw the smoke through his blinds but it wasn’t until he stepped outside of his second-floor apartment that he saw the fire burning in the apartment directly below the one he shares with his brother.
Other neighbors gathered around the family and helped search for cats that possibly escaped the apartment during the fire.
No injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.