Young girl killed in Treasure Island apartment fire


Neighbors are heartbroken. The loss of the still unidentified young girl has hit them hard. Both residents and firefighters tried to save her. At this point, we don't know how the fire started or how it burned so quickly trapping the child inside.

Cell phone video taken by Christian Boykin early Saturday morning shows two apartments on Mariner Drive and Gateview Avenue on Treasure Island obscured by a mountain of flames.

Inside one burning apartment, a 10-year-old girl was trapped. Desiree Azama lives next door. She says she heard screaming and a pounding on her door at about 12:30 a.m.

"We came out and saw that the flames were coming out, bursting out the windows, and heard that the baby was crying," Azama said. "We tried to get to her but we couldn't get to her in time."

Azama, whose family is now homeless, managed to get her four children out safely. Other residents also tried unsuccessfully to save the child. Her mother's screams brought a few of them out of their homes.

"A mother was running around saying that 'my baby's inside,'" neighbor Richard Martin said. "People went up to try to get through the door and as we approached the door, it exploded and fire and smoke came out."

Five other family members managed to escape unharmed. The 10-year-old died inside.

Three apartments were damaged, one was destroyed. 30 people have been displaced.

Some residents complained the firefighters, whose station is less than a half mile from the apartment building, took too much time to respond. Division Chief David Franklin says units responded minutes after getting the call, noting that the delay may have been in residents calling for help.

"It is very unusual for us to show up and find an apartment or any structure fully involved where we have fire coming from every opening," Franklin said.

Two firefighters were injured when they fell through the second story floor while trying to get to the girl. Both were only slightly injured.

Firefighters say smoke detectors were installed in the home and were working. While the fire is still under investigation, firefighters say it is not suspicious.

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