A four-alarm fire that broke out at an apartment complex in Sarasota Friday afternoon has several people looking for another place to stay. It happened at the Beneva Ridge Condo Complex along Beneva Road and Bee Ridge Road.
SkyFox showed the spectacular damage that resulted from a small spark that triggered a fiery mess. It took nearly 50 firefighters to put it out.
The fire damaged three units; firefighters were able to save the other three units in the six-apartment building.
"When the firefighters first arrived, we had a unit involved, where the fire did spread to additional units, however, it's a six-unit building, we stopped it at the third unit," said Sarasota Assistant Fire Chief Michael Regnier.
Keelin Hoffman saw it all.
"There was so much smoke and everything," said Hoffman. "It was crazy."
Hoffman said her grandmother, Helen Gallagher, was having a new washer and dryer installed.
"I was with the people that were putting in the washer and dryer and they just plugged it in and it sparked and I guess they were old, really old buildings, so it just went straight through, up the wall," said Hoffman.
They called 911, but the walls were already on fire.
"It was like five minutes for things to get really, really bad," Hoffman said.
"One firefighter injury," said Regnier. "He was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital."
Regnier said he was treated for heat exhaustion. Luckily, no one else got hurt, including two pets.
"We were able to rescue two snakes that were inside one of the apartments," Regnier said.
The Red Cross was there to help people find places to stay, until they learn if their homes can be saved. Water from the fire fight, plus a major deluge of rain from the sky, left the complex looking like it was lakeside.
Hoffman and her family carried-away what items they could, even plucked family photos from the water outside what was the condo.
"They were on the wall, right when you walked in, upstairs on the wall right there," she said, pointing back to her grandmother's home. "So I guess they just came down with all the water."
Her grandmother, Gallagher, had lived there nearly 40 years. For the moment, she and several others are homeless.
"She'll stay at our house and go through all the stuff that she has right now," Hoffman said.
A fire and police crew will remain on site through the night to monitor any hot spots and to make sure no one tries to re-enter any of the three scorched units.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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