LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) – Firefighters lowered a pregnant woman and at least three of her children to safety from a fourth floor balcony after a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Lauderhill, Monday morning.
According to Lauderhill Fire Rescue, the fire broke out at the complex located at 2551 N.W. 41st Ave., just after 11:30 a.m.
Officials said the three-alarm fire spread across an entire corner unit on the fourth floor of the apartment complex.
At noon, 7News cameras captured heavy smoke pouring out of the completely burned unit. The fire swept quickly through the kitchen, into the living room, to the balcony and even the bedrooms, destroying the apartment.
According to police, the woman, later identified as Oshina Graham, and her children were seen in distress standing outside on the balcony adjacent to the apartment on fire.
Graham said she and her children were unable to leave the unit through the front entrance and at one point had considered jumping from the balcony to avoid the flames.
The mother said she had thrown mattresses and cushions to the ground and was contemplating tossing her children. “I was trying to throw them because I had already thrown the mattresses, so they could actually catch them down there,” said Graham, “but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that because it was kind of risky and too far from the floor.”
Using a ladder truck, firefighters transported the occupants safely to the ground. “It is a little more of an adrenaline rush, but it comes [as] second nature,” said Lauderhill Fire Rescue firefighter Daniel Speerin.
Graham was later seen being transported to the back of a rescue truck on a gurney while wearing an oxygen mask. She was taken to an area hospital and is expected to be OK. Two of the children also reportedly received treatment.
Officials said the flames did not spread beyond that apartment, but other units suffered smoke and water damage. A couple of dozen residents have been displaced as a result.
By 1 p.m., the smoke stopped seeping out of the apartment, and the fire was under control.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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