Early morning fire destroys ten units in Tampa apartment building

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Ten families in Tampa have been displaced after flames ripped through an apartment building early Monday morning.

Israel Gonzalez heard a loud knock at his door around 5 a.m.

“He knocked and started yelling fire,” Gonzalez said.

Tampa Fire Rescue believes an electrical problem in an enclosed patio started the fire at Knollwood Manor Apartments. It quickly spread up the building and into the attic, destroying ten units in the building.

Tampa Fire Rescue says because of the age of the building, firewalls and sprinklers are not required.

Gonzalez and his family lost most of their possessions.

“Just material things honestly. Just material things that you can replace,” he said. “Like clothing got burned. Mattresses, furniture, everything you can replace.”

He’s thankful no one in his family was injured.

“Unfortunately something like this affects a lot of families,” Gonzalez said.

Tampa Fire Rescue says a smoke detector alerted one woman to the fire and she quickly got out of the building and started to warn her neighbors.

“That’s a heroic act because I understand the tendency is to want to make sure you save yourself, but when you take that extra step to make sure your friends, your neighbors are out of there, boy that’s something else,” Jason Penny with Tampa Fire Rescue said.

Damage to the building is estimated at more than $350,000.

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