Man Hospitalized, 2 Cats Killed in Fort Lauderdale Fire

An elderly man was hospitalized and two cats were killed after a fire ripped through a Fort Lauderdale home Friday morning.

The fire was reported around 8 a.m. at 308 Southwest 11th Street, according to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue officials.

"We just all ran outside and freaked out," said Mary Beth Nielsen, who owns the property and shares it with four renters. She and three others were home sleeping in the five-bedroom, two-story 1940s house, when the fire broke out.

"Everybody started screaming," Nielsen said. "[There was] black smoke pouring out of the door."

Nielsen said her roommate, 70-year-old Yhab Ansary, couldn't get out on his own, so another roommate, Jason May, picked up a piece of cement.

"I didn't know what to do so I grab this thing, threw it through the window," said May.

Ansary made it out and was taken as an advanced life support patient to Broward Health, officials said.

Two cats died in the fire and a third showed up alive after the flames were put out. A fourth cat that may have been in the home was still missing.

The home sustained heavy damage and is uninhabitable. At least two people are being displaced by the fire, officials said.

Nielsen said she was working with the Red Cross to find a place for everyone to stay.  "We're all like family so we're gonna stick together, we're all gonna stay together," she said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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