Fire destroys multiple units at Tampa apartment complex

Posted at 8:42 AM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 17:28:27-04

Tampa Fire Rescue responded to a large fire at a Tampa apartment complex early Monday. 

When firefighters arrived just after 5:00 a.m., they found flames and smoke coming through the roof of the 12-unit building of Knollwood Manor in Tampa. 

While crews were fighting the fire, they called for a second alarm due to the size and location of the building. 

Reports say the fire started on the outside of the enclosed patio of unit 2930 and extended into the eaves, spreading to the common roof, and burned away the roof covering at least 10 of the units.

The cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical failure/malfunction. The fire caused more than $350,000 in damage.

No injuries were reported and the fire was under control at 7 a.m.

Despite all the damage residents said they feel fortunate.

Antonio Ortiz said one of his neighbors knocked on his door waking him.

"She said there is a fire! So we went knocking on everyone else's door to get them out," said Ortiz.

Steve Smith, his wife and two young kids are among the families now salvaging whatever they can. Their life's belongings now reduced to bags.

"It's a punch in the gut," said Smith.

Smith said his smoke detector didn't go off. So, if it wasn't for neighbors his family might not be here. The father said that's what he needs to focus on despite a long road ahead.

"We have to relocate for a whole year. There's a lot to worry about including getting the kids in new schools, " said Smith.

And while the the residents won't have a home to return to, Ortiz agrees with Smith.

"I would just like to thank the lord. Things are replaceable but people aren't," said Ortiz.

The American Red Cross will be assisting the displaced residents.