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1 injured at Southside apartment complex fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – One woman is in critical condition after a fire in the La Esperanza apartments near Memorial Hospital.

"The victim on the ground floor level apartment was discovered in a bedroom, the walls completely encased in fire, brought outside. She's in critical condition and transported to UF Health (Jacksonville)," Jacksonville Fire-Rescue spokesman Tom Francis said.

Firefighters said when they arrived, eight apartments were on fire, causing them to request additional firefighters.

"This is a classic second alarm response. In this case, eight apartments, it's a whole apartment building involved," Chief Marty Senterfitt said. "It takes a lot of apparatus, a lot of apartments to search. As I said, one critical injury at this point in time, so we take this very serious."

Firefighters said even though this is a large apartment complex and an entire building was on fire, firefighters were able to quickly get the flames under control and keep it from spreading to other buildings.

"This was a by-the-book operation. It actually went down the way it should," Francis said. "The tower ladder activity to make sure the fire couldn't progress to any other buildings was outstanding, and of course removing the victim from her predicament in a timely fashion and give her a chance to maybe make it."

The cause of the fire, which started just after 2:30 a.m. Friday, is unknown at this time, but the State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.

The Red Cross is also assisting families living in the eight apartments that were damaged by the fire.