Several families were forced from their homes early Tuesday in Pembroke Pines after a townhouse caught fire and rekindled hours later, with the blaze overwhelming several other units.
Crews arrived in the early morning and responded to a fire at a townhouse in the 8900 block of Palm Tree Lane. All residents in the surrounding homes were evacuated as firefighters extinguished the flames, according to the Pembroke Pines Fire Department.
"We got woken up to it like 3 a.m.," said Candice Thomas, who lives in the complex. "You could hear crackling noises. We looked out the window to see a fire four houses down."
At approximately 8:30 a.m., while crews were working to investigate the cause of the first fire, the blaze reignited. This fire burned for hours and required assistance from more firefighters, some from neighboring cities.
"While personnel were conducting an interior attack in the adjacent apartments, the roof became weakened, and fire department personnel were forced to exit the building to conduct an exterior attack on the affected side of the structure," the Pembroke Pines Fire Department said in a news release.
Officials said two children were taken to the hospital by their parents to be treated for smoke inhalation. They were stable at the time, but their current conditions were unknown. One family's cat died and a second cat was taken to an area animal hospital.
Six of the eight townhomes experienced fire, smoke or water damage, the fire department said. The Red Cross said they were giving emergency aid to 10 families displaced by the fire.
Pembroke Pines Police advised drivers to avoid the area as roads were blocked due to the investigation.
Officials believe the fire started due to an electrical problem and is not criminal in nature.
"It's not a good feeling at all," said Thomas. "The people we know, I feel so bad for them. It's not a good feeling."