Miami Gardens house fire started by boy, say officials - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Miami Gardens house fire started by boy, say officials

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (WSVN) -- A grandmother and her grandson escaped a fierce fire that destroyed their townhouse Wednesday morning. Officials would later learn the boy had a hand in igniting the fire.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said a 5-year-old boy was playing with a lighter inside the home, located at 21006 N.W. 39th Ave., at around 10 a.m. When they arrived soon after, they found the home fully engulfed with heavy smoke billowing from the windows.

Fortunately, everyone managed to escape the blaze unharmed. "Apparently, the fire started in one of the rooms. One of the grand kids was able to tell his grandmother that the house was on fire," said a family member. "She was able to grab him and get out of the house. Everybody else got out of the house. They just lost everything they had."

The grandmother, Joanne Johnson, said she tried to put the fire out. "I was in my kitchen, finna get ready to cook, and my grand baby came in the kitchen and told me my room was on fire," said the boy's grandmother. "When I got in my room, I was trying to put the fire out. I got my spread to throw it on top of it, but I couldn't do it."

"When it start getting on fire, we ran out of the room," said the 5-year-old boy.

Johnson then grabbed her grandson, ran out of the house and called police. "I stood there, and I watched it, and I had tears in my eyes cause all my stuff was gone."

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Hugh Bruder said, "They're extremely lucky. This is a very intense fire situation. It was very dangerous."

Some Good Samaritans sprang to the rescue to make sure everyone got out of the house. Roc Lopez, a neighbor, said, "I just ran over there, and when I ran, I saw the two bottom rooms on fire, flames coming out, and I just ran next door and grabbed the two people out of the house."

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has deemed the building uninhabitable. However, the fire department said the adjacent home did not sustain any fire damage. Now these two families don't have a home. "We don't got no bed," said the grandmother. "We don't got nothing. I don't have no clothes."

Red Cross has stepped in to help those left without a roof over their head. John Bankston, a relative, said, "I think they're OK. We'll replace clothes and other little things, but everybody's safe, so we just thank God for that."

It took several firefighters about 45 minutes to put out the blaze. Around noon, crews remained on the scene monitoring hot spots for some time.

The 5-year-old boy has been referred to the Youth Fire Setters Program.


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