Young child hospitalized after Woodland Acres apartment fire; more than a dozen people displaced

Child’s father taken hospital but later released; family kitten died

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man and his young son were rushed to a hospital after jumping from the second floor of a Woodland Acres apartment to escape a fire Thursday afternoon that displaced more than a dozen people.

A woman, who asked not to be identified, said she got a call at work letting her know that her home caught on fire and that her 3-year-old son and her husband were taken to the hospital. The man was released from the hospital a short time and returned to the scene, where he told News4JAX that his son was taken to the UF Health Shands Burn Center in Gainesville.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department also said the family cat died in the fire. According to a family friend, the parents got the kitten for their son this past Christmas.

Crews said they responded about 2:30 p.m. to the fire at the apartment building on Kona Road and could see smoke when they arrived.

According to firefighters, the fire appeared to have started on the first floor while the father and son were upstairs in a room. Both managed to get out of the home but were injured in the process, firefighters said.

Neighbor Tina Sigmon described what she saw when she pulled up behind firefighters arriving on the scene.

“I saw nothing but black smoke coming out of the apartment and then I saw firefighters running to put it out and then I saw the dad run down here to the ambulance with the son. He helped load him on the stretcher,” she said.

Grier Lee, who lives across the street, said he had just come home and immediately noticed something was wrong.

“I saw the smoke. I heard a pow. Then I heard the guy say help. I took off running from here. I got to about right here and saw him jump out the window — him and his baby ... the second-floor window where the palm trees are at,” Lee said. “He hit the ground and ran. Everything was on fire.”

The man who escaped also confirmed to News4JAX that the only way out was for them to jump out of a window second-story window.

According to firefighters, while flames reached the second floor, a closed bedroom door may have bought the father and son some time to escape.

“That keeps the fire and smoke away from them and protects them, so in essence, that was really beneficial to them in this fire,” said JFRD Capt. Eric Prosswimmer

Firefighters said that while it’s unclear if the smoke detector in the home was working, the smoke detector in one of the adjoining homes went off.

Shortly before 2:45 p.m., JFRD said the fire was under control.

The American Red Cross said more than a dozen people were displaced by the fire. The Red Cross is helping residents by providing financial assistance for food, clothing, housing and other essentials such as help replacing medications and mental health support.

The state fire marshal was called to investigate.

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