Huge fire erupts at apartment complex, 2 hurt

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – A fire erupted at a Tampa apartment complex just an hour into the new year sending two people to the hospital and causing extensive damage.

A Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman said that the first call to 911 came in at 1:36 a.m. When firefighters got to the Waterman’s Crossing located on North Rome Avenue, huge flames and smoke poured from the building.

It’s believed the fire started in a unit on the third floor. Fire officials don’t know the cause and can’t say if celebratory fireworks are to blame.

“People were outside screaming,” said Markesia Clerkley, who was at the building visiting a friend. “[People] were knocking on everyone’s door.”

Clerkley, her friend and her friend’s mother escaped unharmed. One person was taken to the hospital after a minor injury, department spokesman Jason Penny said.

A firefighter was also transported because of heat exhaustion, he said.

Several pets escaped the fire. Residents said a dog jumped to safety from the second or third floor. The dog was carried away by animal control officers and should be fine.

Fire investigators plan to remain on scene Friday morning to try to find a cause.

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