Nearly 200 Displaced in Brownsville Apartment Fire

Nearly 200 people were forced out of their homes and into the streets after the sprinkler system contained a fire, but caused extensive water damage, following a fire in a Brownsville high rise apartment complex.

The fire broke out late Sunday at the apartment building located at Northwest 27th Avenue and Northwest 54th Street.

Firefighters say it started as a kitchen fire. The sprinklers kicked in and did exactly what they were supposed to do by controlling the fire, but unfortunately caused extensive water damage in the process, flooding the building from the 11th floor on down and causing damage to the electrical system, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

One tenant, who is blind, had a hard time getting out, "It took me 15 to 20 minutes to come down and I was all alone," he said.

"My kids haven't eaten, where are we going to go?" asked another tenant. "And they're telling me they're not responsible for my stuff that I work hard for."

The scene was a shock for those who awoke to the chaos.

"It's very scary and to be asleep too? Not knowing what was going on. Very scary," said Bernice View. "There was ambulance, fire trucks everywhere and I saw the Red Cross trying to help people."

At least 15 families are now relying on the Red Cross for a place to stay. The organization was on hand with cots and blankets to assist residents, many of whom are children and people with special needs.

Firefighters said the county inspector must ensure the building is safe before power can be restored.

Until then, residents will have to wait. It's also not known how long it will take for contractors to clean up the water damage.

Many residents said they were just thankful that no lives were lost.

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