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Large fire burns at Miami apartment building where man found shot inside

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(MIAMI) — Firefighters are battling a large fire at a Miami residential building while a man who works at the complex was also found shot inside, authorities said.

The fire was reported around 8:15 a.m. Monday at Temple Court Apartments, according to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Responding firefighters rescued more than 40 people, including some from their balconies, the mayor said, calling their actions “heroic.” There was an “explosion” following the evacuation, he said.

Authorities are working to determine how many residents of the complex, most of whom are elderly, were home at the time of the fire.

Suarez said it was too dangerous to fight the three-alarm fire — the first of that level in the city in 25 years — from within the building and all firefighters had been pulled out.

After working to contain the fire in one section of the residential building, firefighters are continuing to fight the blaze “thankfully under much better circumstances,” Suarez said during a press briefing Monday afternoon.

Firefighters discovered the fire on the third floor of the apartment building, according to Miami Fire-Rescue spokesperson Lt. Pete Sanchez.

The building is a wood-frame structure, which “explains the intensity and the rapid spread of the fire,” he said.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Three firefighters were transported to a local hospital in stable condition for further evaluation, according to Sanchez. Two have since been released, he said Monday afternoon.

A resident was also transported to a hospital for smoke inhalation, Sanchez said.

A man was additionally found shot inside the building and transported to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the torso in critical condition, authorities said.

The person shot is an employee of the complex, according to the property’s manager, Atlantic Housing Foundation, which said it was “shocked and saddened” by the fire and shooting.

“We are still determining the cause of these events, and we are checking for other injuries,” Atlantic Housing Foundation said in a statement. “Police are investigating, and we will help in whatever ways we can.”

The shooting is believed to be an isolated incident and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.

“Whatever we tell you now would be pure speculation,” Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes told reporters during the press briefing Monday afternoon. “In due time, I know and I promise you we will get to the bottom of it.”

“The most immediate problem that we have now are the people that are without the homes,” he continued.

The Red Cross is helping provide the displaced residents with meals and a place to stay.

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