Resident displaced after apartment fire
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- A resident is homeless after flames tore through a South Florida apartment on New Year's Day.
The fire gutted an apartment unit in a quadplex along Thomas Street and 17th Avenue at about 2:40 Tuesday morning. Officials said a South Florida resident is now without a home and the homeowner is left to repair the damage.
"I lost everything, there is nothing left," said tenant Lani Medina, " but it is a good year because I have my life."
Medina was on her patio, on the phone, when she saw smoke pouring from her bedroom. She immediately tried to knock the fire down with an extinguisher.
"I had a hard time getting it off the wall," Medina said. "I finally did, I had a hard time getting [the extinguisher] to go, and the smoke was building more, so I just threw it down.
The fire quickly grew bigger, burning through Medina's apartment and spreading to three other units. All have significant damage.
Hollywood Fire Rescue crews arrived to find the entire unit engulfed in flames and heavy smoke billowing from the apartment. "The fire did get into the attic space, between the ceiling and roof," said Hollywood Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Joel Medina. "It caused damage to the entire support structure of the roof," he added.
Investigators believe the fire started in the bedroom, but the cause is still under investigation. Medina's unit was deemed a total loss. "The City of Hollywood Fire Department extends our condolences to him [homeowner] and his family. It's a huge loss and a tough way to start off the new year," said Medina.
The owner of the quadplex lives in one of the units and was in the complex when the fire occurred. "I believe the owner has made several statements that he didn't have insurance," said Medina.
Because the fire broke out on the first of the year, the landlord, who owns the building outright, was no longer required to have homeowners insurance. Nothing Medina owns is covered.
"It's gone, there is nothing," said resident Xavier Rubio, "there is just like steel, everything burnt to the ground."
Officials said a pet parrot belonging to one of the building's owners perished in the fire.
The American Red Cross is now helping Medina. "I am grateful, Medina said, "I count my blessings, and love my family and hug them a little tighter."
The quadplex's other units are still livable.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)