Sprinkler System Problem Forces Elderly Residents Out of Apartments

By Jaime Guirola
|  Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014  |  Updated 11:30 PM EDT
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A downtown Miami apartment building flooded after a sprinkler malfunction following a fire. NBC 6's Jamie Guirola reports.

A downtown Miami apartment building flooded after a sprinkler malfunction following a fire. NBC 6's Jamie Guirola reports.

A fire in downtown Miami at an apartment building forced elderly residents out of their home for hours in the heat. It happened at the Harry Cain Tower on the 5th floor. It started with a kitchen fire.

Mona Gilley, a resident said, "Cause I cant go home, cause I cant go home. I've been out here since like 3:30 today and i cant go home. I want to go home."

The fire Tuesday was quickly put out,.but so were some of the 154 people who live inside at 490 NE 2nd Ave. The building is part of the housing authority and serves needy elderly residents.

Gilley said, "I cant use the stairs i have congestive heart failure. I cant breathe good. So the stairs won't do me no good."

The problem went from fire to flooding in seconds. A valve from the sprinkler system got backed up.

Lt. Ignatius Carroll, Jr, with City of Miami Fire, said, "We had water coming up in all different areas of the bathrooms and as a result had to shutdown water completely to the entire building and evacuate several people "

Power and water was turned off and residents in wheelchairs or who couldnt use the stairs had to be evacuated and forced to wait outside for hours when the average temperature was 88 degrees.

After the building was deemed safe residents returned to their home a little after 9:00 p.m.

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