An overnight fire at the Hidden River Grande apartments off Puritan Road in Tampa is still under investigation.
"People started beating on the doors saying you got to get out, you got to get out and we came outside and the whole building was just engulfed in flames," Camen Dean says. Her apartment was one damaged by the fire.
Carmen has been living through a nightmare, but it's not a nightmare she can wake up from because it's real life. "When I woke up the smoke was so thick I almost couldn't breathe. I felt like I was going to pass out," she said.
Luckily she was able to get out along with her husband and two kids. What makes this fire even more chilling for her is what didn't work when the fire broke out. "The smoke alarms didn't go off at all," Carmen said.
She and others living in the building say no alarms wen off when the fire started. It was neighbors and firefighters who helped alert people. "Someone was banging on my window and said fire. After that the whole building started collapsing," Jeany Showers said. Her apartment was damaged as well.
In a video shot by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue you can hear what sounds like smoke detectors going off. Jeany says the alarms finally sounded, but not soon enough. "We didn't hear no alarms until that fire started getting really worse," she said.
"We don't know the details how come the smoke alarms weren't functioning. Code Enforcement agency as well as the Fire Marshall are notified so we will try to do an inspection or something," Ronnie Rivera with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said.
In all about eight units were destroyed by the fire leaving about 17 people without a home. We did try to contact management to talk to them about the smoke detectors but they had no comment.
An entire apartment building was destroyed after an early two alarm fire that started around 3:00 a.m. Saturday.
According to Hillsborough Fire Rescue spokesman, Ronnie Rivera, a total of eight units were totaled at the complex on River Vista Lane, leading to 15 to 17 people being displaced.
Fire crews are still working on extinguishing hot spots throughout the building before a fire investigator can determine the cause.
Residents told firefighters that they were not awoken by smoke alarms when the fire started. They either smelled the smoke, realized their were flames, or fire crews woke them up. HFR is working to determine that there were no working smoke alarms in the units.
Due to a quick approach crews were able to safely get everyone inside the building out. No injuries have been reported.
Red Cross is responding to assist the those who have been displaced.