A fire early Tuesday morning forced 25 residents from their homes at a Clearwater condo complex.
The fire broke out around 3:16 a.m. at the Imperial Cove Condominiums on the Bay located at 19029 U.S. Highway 19.
Smoke and flames were coming from the roof over four condos when firefighters arrived. Firefighters believe the air conditioning units on the roof started the fire.
Firefighters went door to door to evacuate residents. They had to use an ax to force their way into some condos to make sure everyone got out OK. No residents were injured.
The fire had residents worried about their neighbors.
“There’s a lot of senior citizens in this building including me. So, I was just afraid that some of them would sleep through it,” said resident Tom Vojnovich, who called 911.
“I mean I didn’t have time to think about it to be honest with you. You see that smoke and you know something is really bad so I just had to you know make sure that someone knew, so it was all about getting 911 and getting the people out.”
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.
Seven apartments were damaged in the blaze. The 25 residents who were displaced by the fire are at a recreation hall for now. The Red Cross has been notified.
Imperial Cove Condominiums is a residential community for people ages 55 and up.
More than 250 firefighters responded from Clearwater, Dunedin, Pinellas Park and Safety Harbor.