Elderly Man Dies in SW Miami-Dade House Fire: Police

Crews rushed to the scene just before 3 a.m. near the 8000 block of Southwest 94th Court

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Police are investigating a fire in southwest Miami-Dade that left an elderly man dead and another man hospitalized early Wednesday.

Crews rushed to the scene just before 3 a.m. near the 8000 block of Southwest 94th Court and found the home engulfed in flames.

According to Miami-Dade Police, the family had a barbecue Tuesday night and had gone to bed but were awakened by a dog barking and found the house was on fire.

The family who lives in the home were able to escape, but a man was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center with second-degree burns, officials said.

An elderly man who lived in the rear efficiency of the home was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity hasn't been released.

Residents said neighbors used a garden hose to try to battle the flames as the family escaped.

Katelyn Benitez, who lives in the home, said she thought she was dreaming when her father woke her up to evacuate.

"My dad came in and he grabbed us all and then we just like ran out," Benitez said. "But when we walked out of the room, everything was pitch black. Like you couldn’t see anything."

Benitez said she escaped with her big brother, Aidan, and 5-year-old brother, Skylar. She said her dad's girlfriend also made it out safely.

She said her father, 46-year-old Pedro Benitez, kept going back to try to save the elderly neighbor but couldn't reach him.

Benitez's grandmother visited her father at the hospital.

“I’m devastated over that that someone lost their life. And he wanted to save him," Cari Pino said. "His whole face is burned, part of his arms and part of his back."

Aidan Benitez said his father wasn't the only hero. Their dog Daisy was the one who alerted them to the fire in the first place.

“She was barking and crying and that woke us up," Aidan Benitez said.

Daisy was burned while she was inside her crate, and at some point she was let out and took off. The family and neighbors are still searching for her.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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