Tampa — A mother and two of her children died in a Town ‘N Country apartment fire early Wednesday.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews and sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at 3:23 a.m. about a fire at the Captiva Club Apartments. They arrived within minutes to find flames penetrating the roof of Building 3 and a wall collapsed, according to a news release from Hillsborough Fire Rescue.
The first responders immediately began evacuating the eight-unit building at 4545 Castaway Drive, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a news conference. It took firefighters around 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
The mother and another person living with the family were able to escape their apartment, but then the mother noticed that her two children, ages 10 and 5, had apparently not made it out.
“She realized that her two children were not outside and she went inside to rescue (them) and unfortunately all three of them have perished in this fire,” Chronister said.
The Sheriff’s Office did not immediately release the names of the family because next of kin had not been notified.
All eight apartments were damaged from fire, smoke and water. At least 12 residents were displaced and the Red Cross was helping some of them find shelter.
Hillsborough Fire Rescue along with the Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshall are investigating the cause of the fire.
Wednesday’s blaze was at least the third major fire at the complex in recent years.
In 2015, a fire destroyed or damaged about a dozen units, fire rescue officials reported at the time. Another fire in April 2018 destroyed or damaged several more units.
In the Wednesday morning fire, smoke detectors and fire alarms in the building appeared to be working properly, Chronister said.
“Is there any greater action of love than the one displayed by this mother today?” he said.
Contact Tony Marrero at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.
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