Miami/ Community & Society
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Published on June 12, 2024
Over 40 Displaced, Suspect in Custody After Intentional Fire and Shooting at Miami's Temple Court ApartmentsSource: Google Street View

A devastating fire combined with a violent incident has left over 40 residents of Temple Court apartments in Miami without homes. The blaze, which officials believe was intentionally set, began early Monday morning and resulted in the injury of a maintenance worker who was found with gunshot wounds. "We're all homeless now," said resident Mercedes Gouthmann, in a statement obtained by NBC Miami. Gouthmann, who managed to escape with her son, who has special needs, her dog and a few key documents added, "I don't have the medicine I take for my thyroid nor my blood pressure, I have nothing, and I'm devastated. I don't know what's going to happen to us."

The fire required a response from 126 firefighters and took eight hours to extinguish. It marks the city's first three-alarm fire in 25 years. Cristhian Dominguez, whose grandparents were among those displaced, told NBC Miami, "That was their house so it's like, where do they go now that's the most important question." In the aftermath, the property management company has secured a hotel for the displaced residents for the next two weeks, yet their long-term fate remains uncertain.

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire and shooting, with Mayor Francis Suarez confirming a suspect is in custody. The maintenance worker who was shot is in critical condition. According to Local 10 News, the apartment complex, which largely houses elderly residents, is part of the broader Jose Marti Park Complex. This recreational site has temporarily closed to the public to provide shelter and aid for those affected by the tragedy.

Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes announced a supportive gesture, as each individual sheltering at Jose Marti gym will receive a $250 gift card for necessities. In addition, the Red Cross rapidly mobilized, offering food, medications, and coordinating temporary housing solutions. A resident, Joel Enrique, recounted to Local 10 News his harrowing escape alongside his mother and cat from the inferno, emphasizing the community effort by firefighters to evacuate the building. Lt. Pete Sanchez of Miami Fire Rescue has stated that the Miami Fire Investigation Unit, Miami Police, and The State Fire Marshal's office, are now leading the ongoing investigation.

Miami-Community & Society