Child killed in massive apartment fire in Altamonte Springs, officials say

An elementary school student has died, and several other families are without a place to live after a massive fire ripped through an apartment complex Wednesday morning in Seminole County, fire officials said.

The massive fire broke out shortly before 1:30 a.m. at the apartment complex near Ballard Street and Beverly Avenue, not far from Eastmonte Park.

More than 70 firefighters and fire trucks responded to the 2-alarm blaze and found the apartment building roof heavily engulfed in flames. The fire ultimately spread, affecting more than a dozen units at the complex.

One person – a preteen child – died in the fire, officials said. The child's age and name have not been released. However, Seminole County Public Schools confirmed that the child attended Lake Orienta Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Officials said counselors would be available at the school throughout the day. 

Officials said the cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation. The fire damaged 12 units, and those who lived there now have to find another place to live.

The State Fire Marshal told FOX 35's Chris Lindsay that the apartment complex appeared to have working smoke detectors despite earlier reports of no working units. He said firefighters could hear smoke detectors going off.


(Photo via Seminole County Fire Department)

Uriah Frisby, a resident at the apartment complex, lost his home in the blaze.

"Seeing flames like that man. I've never seen anything like that before," he said. What remains of the apartment building is a heavily damaged structure and a charred roof.

"I heard screaming outside. Then I heard an explosion, like a loud bang."

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Both the American Red Cross and Harvest Time International, a Sanford-based non-profit organization, are assisting those impacted by the fire.