NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) – Rescue crews took a child to the hospital and more than a dozen families were forced out of their homes after a fire broke out inside an apartment unit in North Miami.
Surveillance video showed an orange ball of fire glowing from a second-floor unit at an apartment complex near Northeast Sixth Avenue and 134th Street, Saturday afternoon.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene of the second alarm blaze, just after 1 p.m.
The video shows a firefighter going unit by unit to make sure no one is still inside their homes.
A home security camera from an apartment across the hallway from the burning unit showed neighbors scrambling to put out the flames.
The footage shows a man using his entire body to force the door open.
Resident Paola Gutierrez said she sensed something was wrong when she smelled smoke.
“I opened the door ’cause I feel the smell, smell like fire,” she said. “I saw the fire next door, and I run.”
As smoke filled the hallway, panicked residents ran for their lives. Some of them escaped through their balconies.
Firefighters treated three people at the scene and transported the injured child to the hospital.
“I just saw my stuff, my things, and I just said, ‘Oh my God, I have to save my life,’” said Gutierrez.
As people ran away from the fire, the man who forced open the door of the burning unit returned with a fire extinguisher.
“The way my sister was, she was very hysterical. As far as with the smoke inside the hallway, she said she wasn’t able to see anything whatsoever,” said Steve Sanon.
Sanon said he raced back to the building after his family called him to alert him their apartment had caught fire.
“I was honestly scared for my mother and my sister, ’cause at the end of the day, I just stepped out,” he said.
The American Red Cross is helping the 14 displaced families. None of them can stay in their homes Saturday night.
“I never would have expected something like this to happen,” said Sanon.
Investigators said the fire did not spread to other units. 7News cameras captured firefighters looking around the charred unit to determine how the blaze started.
Residents said they’re thankful they got out alive.
“I’m OK. I’m happy ’cause I have life,” said Gutierrez.
Late Saturday night, 7News cameras captured the charred, heavily damaged unit.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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