Residents say they heard explosion before fire at Bradenton apartment; 20+ displaced

Manatee County

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – A fire broke out early Monday at the Mira Lagos apartment complex in Bradenton.

Flames could be seen shooting from one of the apartment buildings off 34th Avenue Drive East just before 6 a.m. According to SNN, Southern Manatee Fire Rescue was working to put out hot spots.

Deputy Chief Rick Blanco said residents of the complex reported hearing an explosion on the first floor of the unit. Blanco told SNN that the fire spread to the second floor displacing more than 20 people from the building.

The affected building is now condemned and nearby buildings in the complex are without power.

No one was injured in the fire, due in part to an unexpected hero in the form of a construction worker driving into work.

Walter Rivas saw the fire from his car. He stopped, grabbed his ladder, and helped pull a family stuck on the second floor to safety.

“I started climbing and the first person I got was the boy that was above,” Rivas said. “Then the lady came, and then her husband came last.”

He then knocked on other doors to make sure everyone got out okay.

“I feel good, because the child I rescued and his family was nice,” Rivas said.

“We will make contact with him and recognize him properly for his actions here today,” Blanco said.

A K9 will be used to search unstable areas of the building.

There was no immediate word on what caused the fire. The state fire marshal is investigating.

In the meantime, the American Red Cross is assisting displaced families and tells us apartment management is helping move some families into empty units elsewhere in the complex.

Flames could be seen shooting from one of the apartment buildings off 34th Avenue Drive East just before 6 a.m. According to SNN, Southern Manatee Fire Rescue was working to put out hot spots.

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