Fire second in two months at complex in Town 'n' Country

6:49 PM, Apr 24, 2013   |    comments
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Town 'n' Country, Florida - A fast moving fire has left several families without a home.

It happened this afternoon at the Harbour Walk apartment complex in Town 'n' Country along Webb Rd.

Earlier story: Crews battle three alarm fire in Town 'N' Country

This is the second fire at the same complex since February.

It's concerning because neither fire was arson, say investigators. The first one was an electrical short, and they were looking into whether this one may have been as well.

PHOTOS: 3-alarm fire at Harbour Walk Apartments

"You couldn't breathe in there, there was like, no breathing in there," said Angelique Vargas.

Sher and her son Daniel barely got out alive. Fire and thick smoke filling their second story apartment in just seconds.

"The way that went? Had I not woken up I wouldn't be here right now," said Vargas.

"There was flames up - everywhere - it was everywhere," said Daniel, who had smelled smoke for the past 10 minutes or so before the fire started.

In all, 16 units were damaged. Six were a complete loss.

No one was killed or injured, but the fire moved so quickly, says Vargas "you didn't have time for nothing. I took a breath and I took a breath of a lot of smoke."

Vargas was able to save her 9-year-old parrot, Buddy.

A dog named Simon was also given oxygen and survived,  but officals were still uncertain as to the fate of a neighbor's cat.

Another big concern for firefighters and residents at Harbour Walk is that there was another fire at this same complex just two months ago.

The cause of that one was deemed to be electrical.

This one may have been too, so now code enforcement was on-scene going building to building.

"It doesn't matter what time of day the fire is. There's families that call this home and we want to make sure that it's a safe place for them to live," said Nacole Revette with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

"I'm sure it's probably the same reason," said former resident Zack Buendia.

Buendia used to live in the building that burned back in February.

He was worried this would happen again.

"We moved out just for that reason is that we obviously didn't want to be in it," he said.

Vargas says she had some exercise equipment on the patio and grill in storage, but didn't think anything of her's could have sparked the blaze.

Whatever the cause, 19 people including an infant were left homeless.

The Red Cross was offering temporary assistance, but after that?
"How do you start over? I don't even know," said Vargas. "You know we work so hard all our lives for what little we have and I have no idea."


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