A large, two-alarm fire torched a building of an apartment complex in Kissimmee on Wednesday — the second fire at the complex in less than six months.
- Large fire destroys Kissimmee apartment building
- All units in the building were evacuated
- Donegan Avenue shut down as firefighters battled blaze
Almost 20 people were displaced by the fire at the Valencian apartments on West Donegan Avenue. Fire ripped through the roof line and attic space in an eight-unit building. Water damaged the units on the bottom floor.
“It hurts me, it hurts me,” resident Doris Brancacio said.
When firefighters arrived, flames had already engulfed the building.
One person was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
The chief for the Kissimmee Fire Department said they detected a chemical-like odor but can’t find the source, which is why the Hazmat Team with Orange County Fire Rescue was involved.
All units in the building were evacuated.
"I don't believe any of the eight units will be habitable with the water damage to the first floor," Kissimmee Fire Rescue Chief Jim Walls said. "KUA (Kissimmee Utility Authority) has pulled the meter ... so there won't be electricity. Occupants of all eight units will have to be relocated, either here or somewhere else."
A Venezuelan couple said their 9-year old-son was inside their apartment with their cousin when the fire started. Carlos Urnadeta said his family escaped when they saw smoke come up through the vents.
“Now, we have nothing. We came with little and now we have less,” Urnadeta said in Spanish.
A cause of the fire was still being determined Wednesday afternoon.
Management at the complex said it was working with displaced families.
“We are working on it. Like I said, most of the time, it’s normally a grease fire and stuff like that with people cooking,” said Kristine Hale, the regional vice-president for Michaelson Group.
Donegan Avenue between John Young Parkway and Thacker Avenue was closed to traffic while firefighters battled the blaze. In addition to Kissimmee Fire, firefighters from Osceola and Orange counties responded.
Walls said the apartment complex may relocate some families to empty apartments, but if not, the Red Cross would step in.
This isn’t the first time a fire has happened at the complex. Back in October an electrical issue sparked another blaze. Those who live here blame poor management.
Brancacio blamed poor management.
“The management before they didnt do nothing but keep the seats warm in the office and collect the money,” Brancacio added.
The state Fire Marshal's Office was called in to conduct an investigation.
HAPPENING NOW: Sky 13 over Kissimmee apartment complex, where firefighters were extinguishing hot spots from a huge, 2-alarm fire.— News 13 (@MyNews13) March 21, 2018
➡ 3 fire agencies responded
➡ Donegan Avenue closed
➡ 1 person hospitalizedhttps://t.co/tQagatVnb4 pic.twitter.com/kNwXGlYCkG