Authorities Investigate North Miami Beach Duplex Fire

Gas-filled tank found inside duplex that was scene of fire

By Julia Bagg
|  Monday, Jul 2, 2012  |  Updated 9:12 PM EDT
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Authorities are investigating a fire at a duplex in North Miami Beach Monday morning that displaced six people. Officials say firefighters responded to the duplex at 91 Northeast 168th Street around 3:45 a.m. Anthony Rea, who lives next to where the fire started, said an explosion woke him up.

Authorities are investigating a fire at a duplex in North Miami Beach Monday morning that displaced six people. Officials say firefighters responded to the duplex at 91 Northeast 168th Street around 3:45 a.m. Anthony Rea, who lives next to where the fire started, said an explosion woke him up.

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Authorities are investigating a fire at a duplex in North Miami Beach Monday morning that displaced six people.

Officials say firefighters responded to the duplex at 91 Northeast 168th Street around 3:45 a.m.

Anthony Rea, who lives next to where the fire started, said an explosion woke him up.

"It sounded like a hand grenade going off," said Rea. "I noticed my laundry room door, it was completely blown off. I saw a lot of smoke and then I started seeing flames."

He said he quickly worked to get his 8-year-old son and wheelchair-bound wife out of the apartment.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control and residents were able to escape without serious injuries, officials said.

It's unknown how the fire started but authorities said a gas-filled tank used for welding was found inside.

"We don't know if that caused the fire but it's a potential dangerous thing for us," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Eric Baum said.

Baum added that the fire is a "potential for a crime scene."

"I heard a big boom and glass, so glass hit our door and it broke our window there was glass all over the porch and everything so I opened the door and there was flames, just huge flames coming out of the apartment next door," neighbor Lyn Cossairt said. "It was just unreal, all the flames and everything, the big boom and then the glass, you could hear glass shatter."

The Red Cross was on the scene early Monday to help residents find shelter elsewhere.

 

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