Fort Pierce triplex fire displaces at least 17 residents

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 11:36 AM EDT
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More than a dozen people need to find a new place to live after flames broke out at a triplex in Fort Pierce on Independence Day.

According to the St. Lucie County Fire District, firefighters responded to a home in the 2500 block of Avenue N around 8:45 p.m. Monday.

Images from the scene showed flames and heavy smoke coming from the property, and furniture and other personal belongings destroyed.

Officials said 10 people live in one of the affected units, and seven to eight other people live in two additional units that were damaged. Many of those residents were out of town for the holiday weekend, authorities said.

The American Red Cross is now assisting residents who can't live in their homes.

The St. Lucie County Fire District said the cause of the fire was fireworks and no one was hurt.

"This is my dad when he was a baby," said resident Shanterra McKeliver as she brushed away soot Tuesday from her precious family pictures. "I don’t really know how to feel."

On July 4th, McKeliver was celebrating a nephew's birthday in Port St. Lucie when a neighbor called that her home was on fire.

"I was the first one to get here and I don’t know, I just seen flames," McKeliver said.

A spokeswoman with the St. Lucie County Fire District confirmed fireworks as the cause of the fire.

There was one person inside the home at the time of the fire, an 18-year-old woman. She tried to come out of the front door, but it was too hot to the touch. So she ended up busting out a window to get the attention of rescuers.

The clothes of McKeliver's seven children are now in sooty piles outside.

Two years ago, before McKeliver's father passed, there was another fire here, but it was confined to the kitchen. Now, she and other family members who live in the neighboring units must figure out what’s next.

"Maybe God has something better for us," McKeliver said.

The American Red Cross has stepped in to provide temporary shelter and other necessities.

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