Large fire sends children to hospital, displaces families

Total of 7 people were transported to hospital for treatment

By Corley Peel - Reporter, Nick Jones - Digital producer, Jennifer Ready - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A dozen families are picking up the pieces Wednesday morning after a massive fire tore through their apartment complex.

At least seven people were sent to area hospitals Tuesday night after the fire burned several units at the Calloway Cove Apartments in the Moncrief neighborhood, according to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

JFRD said three children and one adult had critical injuries. Two other children were taken to hospitals in stable condition.

Multiple sources have told News4Jax that a stove in one of the units "blew up" but the state fire marshal will determine the exact cause of the fire.

A witness told News4Jax he helped three children get to safety.

"My cousin... he said, 'We've got to get the kids, man. We've got to get the kids,'" a witness told News4Jax. "I feel like if me and my cousin weren't right there to take them kids out of the house, they would have died."

Several others described what they heard and saw during the blaze.

“I heard screaming and yelling and hollering and I looked out the bathroom window because I was taking a shower, I thought the trees were on fire. It looked like the sky was blazing,” Pat Hilson described. “I stepped on the porch and all I heard were three loud booms."

Another resident, James Ephron, described what he saw.

“The flames were real high- really high and smoke and everybody was running, trying to get people out because they said people were in the building. I know it was two old fellas. I think they ran in and got the children and stuff out,” Ephron said.

The American Red Cross is assisting the families burned out by the fire. According to JFRD, 12 families were displaced. 

"I would encourage the community to rally around these families," said Fire Chief Keith Powers. "They are in a bad way tonight and they're going to need all the support of the local community to overcome this tragedy."

According to a spokesperson for the Red Cross, monetary donations can be made directly to the organization, but the donations will not be specifically earmarked for families affected by the fire. The organization does not accept items or supplies for fire victims, because it does not have the storage space.

Mayor Lenny Curry offered his support to the families involved.

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