1 injured, 23 residents displaced in Fern Park apartment fire

Twenty-three people are without a home after a fire tore through an apartment complex in Seminole County’s Fern Park neighborhood. The American Red Cross is assisting families. 

The fire was so severe, a maintenance worker and others jumped in to save the residents. 

“When I walked downstairs, you could see fire coming out of every window.” 

Cell phone video from witnesses shows the flame tearing through the breezeway of the apartments in Fern Creek. Eight apartments were impacted in what could have been a disastrous, deadly fire. 

“I was talking to some of the residents here, they said that as soon as they opened the door, the whole breezeway was on fire, so they were kind of entrapped in their building,” said Seminole County Fire Department Battalion Chief Chad Chorak. 

Seminole County firefighters responded to an apartment fire in Fern Park on Monday, March 28, 2022.

Before fire crews showed up, they say a maintenance worker and several others helped people jump from their windows to safety.

“During the process, we helped to save these two guys right here. He actually jumped off the balcony. He almost hurt himself,” said witness Daniel Panton.

Panton jumped into action as fellow residents jumped from the building. 

“After we realized the building was on fire, we ran over to the other side to make sure that there was no one there. It was just instinct. I look at people as I love people, and it was a very dangerous situation,” said Panton.

Those who got out of the building looked on as it all played out. 

“Just on the balcony not really sure what to do because literally his apartment’s on fire, and then they were helping him climb out, so I actually watched that and that was pretty wild,” said witness Joseph Aldridge.

Seminole County firefighters responded to an apartment fire in Fern Park on Monday, March 28, 2022.

Seminole County firefighters responded to an apartment fire in Fern Park on Monday, March 28, 2022.

Seminole County firefighters responded to an apartment fire in Fern Park on Monday, March 28, 2022.

Seminole County firefighters responded to an apartment fire in Fern Park on Monday, March 28, 2022.

It took crews 20 minutes to put out the fire, full of hidden hot spots. They checked on one or two people with minor injuries and pets. Now they’re feeling thankful. 

“Seminole County says thank you to that maintenance man. He did an excellent job. I mean, that’s a hero right there,” said Battalion Chief Chorak.

Crews believe the fire started on the second floor, but they are still investigating that, and how it started. 

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