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Man found shot as 3-alarm fire engulfs 4-story apartment complex in Miami

By Allen Cone
Many residents were evacuated from an apartment fire in Miami on Monday. Photo by Miami Fire Rescue/Twitter
Many residents were evacuated from an apartment fire in Miami on Monday. Photo by Miami Fire Rescue/Twitter

June 10 (UPI) -- A suspect is in custody after a three-alarm fire, the first in Miami in 25 years, destroyed a four-story apartment complex Monday near downtown as a man was found shot.

Police were called to the Temple Court Apartments complex at about 8:15 a.m. The gunshot victim, who worked at the complex, was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

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Four other people required medical assistance. A Miami Fire Rescue official said three firefighters required hospitalization and one resident was treated for smoke inhalation. Two firefighters later were released from the hospital.

More than 40 elderly residents were rescued from the fire.

Mayor Francis Suarez said officials believe all residents are accounted for, and no fatalities have been reported.

"We got several calls referencing a fire at this location," said Suarez, adding it was "escalating in intensity."

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A three-alarm fire means three separate fire stations responded to the blaze.

"A level 3 fire is something we haven't seen in 25 years in the city," Suarez said in a report by WTVJ-TV. "It requires 40 units of our fire department."

Police told WFOR-TV it was too early to say if the shooting was connected to the fire.

The unnamed suspect was taken into custody at 6 p.m., Suarez said. He was believed to have shot an employee at the Temple Court apartments and then intentionally set the fire, he said.

The Miami Herald reported the suspect was a man.

A total of 61 units in two buildings were affected by the fire. There were 43 residents listed as living there.

Miami police said everyone they know of who had been in the building was accounted for, and no fatalities have been reported.

People who live in the building said they heard explosions.

The wood infrastructure fueled the blaze.

"The challenging part is you can't see anything but also you start to have compromising of the floors. We understand that probably the third-floor area was collapsing as a result, so safety is our number one priority," Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll told WFOR.

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The Atlantic Housing Foundation, which manages the complex, said the man shot was an employee.

"We are still determining the cause of these events, and we are checking for other injuries," the foundation said. "Police are investigating, and we will help in whatever ways we can. We are working with the Red Cross, which has brought drinks and snacks to help our displaced residents. We are also working to provide meals and a place to stay for those who have been affected. We will update as we have more information."

He was identified by family members to WTVJ as 30-year-old Feder Biotte, a maintenance technician at the building.

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