Dozens Escape Florida Apartment Fire


An early morning fire burned 22 units of Victoria Park Apartments in the 4000 block of Sunbeam Road, leaving 31 people without a place to live.

The fire broke out about 4 a.m. Thursday.

"I noticed the neighbors were not out, and I just started knocking on doors, calling 911," resident Tonya Taylor said. "I got my keys, got in the car, blowing the horn -- something that's out of the ordinary that they can hear noises to get out. That's when neighbors started getting out of the apartments."

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Division spokesman Tom Francis said the size of the fire required a second alarm -- sending dozens more fire units to the scene.

At least one building was evacuated, but all residents made it out safely. One firefighter did receive a minor injury and was treated at the scene.

Firefighters said the fire started on the second floor after someone discarded hot barbecue coals into a carboard box.

JFRD estimated the first caused $850,000 in damages.

One lane of Sunbeam Road was closed in each direction between San Jose Boulevard and Craven Road until about 8 a.m.

Christian Smith with the Red Cross said volunteers are on scene helping the displaced families.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available, with a live report on the local station at noon.

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