Suspect in fire, shooting at Miami building in custody: mayor

Dozens of people were rescued from the building, authorities said.

A person suspected of shooting an employee at a Miami residential building and “intentionally” starting a fire that quickly engulfed the complex is in custody, authorities said.

The fire was reported around 8:15 a.m. ET Monday at the Temple Court Apartments, according to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. More than 125 firefighters battled the blaze for about eight hours, he said during a press briefing Monday evening announcing the suspect’s arrest.

The firefighters who intervened rescued more than 40 people, some of them from their balconies, the mayor said, describing their actions as “heroic”. Firefighters made seven ladder rescues, he said.

There was an “explosion” after the evacuation, according to Suarez, who said the three-alarm fire was the first of this level in the city in 25 years.

First responders found a man shot inside the building. He was transported to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the torso and in critical condition, authorities said.

The person shot was an employee of the complex, according to the property’s manager, Atlantic Housing Foundation, which said it was “shocked and saddened” by the fire and shooting. This is believed to be an isolated incident and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.

All of the building’s residents, most of whom are elderly, have been accounted for, Suarez said.

Authorities have not provided any information on the suspect involved in the incident.

Firefighters discovered the fire on the third floor of the building, according to Miami Fire Department spokesman Lt. Pete Sanchez.

The building is a wooden frame structure, which “explains the intensity and rapid spread of the fire,” he explained.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Three firefighters were transported to a local hospital in stable condition for further evaluation, according to Sanchez. Two of them have since been released, he said Monday afternoon.

A resident was also transported to a hospital for smoke inhalation, Sanchez said.

The property’s management company is renting a hotel for the next two weeks for the 43 residents displaced by the fire, according to the mayor.

“We are still determining the cause of these events and are looking for additional infections,” the Atlantic Housing Foundation said in a statement. “Police are investigating and we will help in any way we can.”

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