SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Twenty-one adults and children have been left homeless following a two-alarm fire at an apartment building in Bradenton overnight.
The fire happened at the Mira Lagos Apartments, Building 9, near South Tamiami Trail and U.S. 301. Video from Mario Jimenez, who lives next door to the apartment building, shows massive flames consuming the two-story building.
Many woke up to the sound of alarms, knocks, and screams.
Miguel Gonsalez, one of the fire victims, said, “Honestly if it wasn’t for the screams of people being terrified and scared, I wouldn’t have woken up from my sleep and gotten my sister out of there.”
As responders were on their way, the fire was gaining power so people took matters into their own hands.
Rick Blanco, Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Deputy Chief, said, “He heard people screaming for help… went and retrieved an aluminum ladder from his house that was down the road. Came back laddered the building and started helping people out of the back windows.”
Neighbors say the Good Samaritan, Walter, was also knocking on all the doors to get people out.
“Like my wife said, he was like an angel, he was helping everybody out," Jimenez said.
First responders put out the fire and were able to get everyone out safely, but fire crews say the building is unfit to live in.
The Red Cross has been on scene all day. Victims tell Your Suncoast News that they received money for food and clothing.
Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Battalion Chief, Adam Perry says the case is being led by the State Fire Marshal. Perry couldn’t confirm if they thought the fire started suspiciously.
Fire officials haven’t released how the fire started.