Cleanup crews power-washed and lifted and loaded charred debris throughout Monday at Lake Park Gardens in Plantation, a day after a destructive fire at the apartment complex.
Kevone Hyre, who owns three units, moved to Lake Park Gardens with her family in August. Two of her second-floor units are water-damaged like this one, with the floors left sooty and wet.
“I must say it was really heartbreaking, but I just thank God that my family, my four children and my husband, my sister-in-law and nanny, we are all safe and sound,” Hyre said. “But things can always be replaced, but not lives.”
The Red Cross said it is assisting six families, and said a total of 18 people are being put up in nearby hotels for the next few days.
Residents came by during the day Monday to collect what belongings they could.
Flames ripped from the rooftop and ground floors in the Sunday morning fire, followed by a lingering haze of smoke.
“Everybody was panicking. It was early in the morning – 8:30 – I was still in bed,” said Lake Park Gardens resident Jack Persaud.
The three-story building has no sprinkler system, so 50 firefighters spent some three hours hosing down the flames.
No injuries were reported, but members of Hyre's family came close. The third unit she owns is next door to one belonging to Norris Brown. The blaze broke out in his top-floor unit, and on Sunday Brown said he escaped the fire in his bedroom and was unsure how it started.
Fire officials said their investigation found that smoking in Brown’s unit was the cause.
Now, Hyre is wondering if she'll have to move back to her Cayman Islands home.
“I may have to relocate my family back to the island for a short period of time until we can decide when we are safe enough to return here,” she said.