Fire at Tampa apartment complex damages 24 units

Photo: WFLA

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) — Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews responded to the Palencia Apartments early Thursday morning after a fire broke out in one of the buildings.

Crews rushed to the apartment complex, near the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Bearss Ave., around 3 a.m.

A group of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies is being credited with arriving first on scene and alerting residents to the fire, helping them get out safely.

Dozens of residents evacuated from the Palencia Apartments due to the fire (WFLA)
Dozens of residents evacuated from the Palencia Apartments due to the fire (WFLA)

When fire crews got there, flames were shooting through the roof and out of the stairwell of the building.

“I looked out the window and there were flames flying past the window,” said resident Russell Duffield. “I jumped up and told my girlfriend we need to get up. We ran out of the apartment as fast as we could,” he said.

A total of 24 units in the building have some sort of fire, smoke or water damage, according to officials. At least 24 residents have been displaced. The American Red Cross was called to the scene to help find the displaced residents a new place to stay.

One dog was killed in the fire, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman said.

Curtis Rice was lucky. His two cats survived. Firefighters found them hiding under a bed.

“I feel great man,” Rice said. “Knowing he’s alive and safe.”

Fire investigators are currently looking for a cause. They believe the fire began on the second floor.

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