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Apartment fire in Tampa’s Bayshore district displaces residents

South Carolina Avenue was temporarily closed, Tampa Fire Rescue said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.
Crews are battling a two-alarm fire at an apartment complex in Tampa’s Bayshore district Tuesday afternoon, according to Tampa Fire Rescue. South Carolina Avenue currently is closed, the agency said in a tweet. Motorists are advised to avoid the area.
Crews are battling a two-alarm fire at an apartment complex in Tampa’s Bayshore district Tuesday afternoon, according to Tampa Fire Rescue. South Carolina Avenue currently is closed, the agency said in a tweet. Motorists are advised to avoid the area. [ Tampa Fire Rescue, via Twitter ]
Published Jun. 28|Updated Jun. 29

TAMPA — Crews battled a two-alarm fire at an apartment complex in Tampa’s Bayshore district Tuesday afternoon, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

Firefighters were called to the Kansas Avenue Apartments on West Kansas Avenue around 2:30 p.m., according to Fire Rescue spokesperson Vivian McIlrath.

Smoke was coming from the roof when first responders arrived, and it appears that the fire started there, she said.

Tampa Fire Rescue crews work to put out a fire at Kansas Avenue Apartments in Tampa on Tuesday.
Tampa Fire Rescue crews work to put out a fire at Kansas Avenue Apartments in Tampa on Tuesday. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]

Firefighters used two trucks to spray water onto the roof from all angles as they tried to extinguish the flames, McIlrath said.

The fire caused significant damage and a number of residents were displaced, officials said.

Debbi Copeland said her daughter Lauren Copeland, a resident of the building, wasn’t home when the fire started. After property managers sent a text to Lauren Copeland to alert her about it, she texted her mom.

“She didn’t know if the text was spam or fake or what, so I told her I would go and check it out for her,” Debbi Copeland said. “When I got here I saw all these firetrucks and smoke, so I knew something was wrong.”

Tampa Fire Rescue crews spray water onto the roof of an apartment building on West Kansas Avenue in Tampa on Tuesday. Smoke was coming from the roof when first responders arrived, and it appears that the fire started there, according to Fire Rescue spokesperson Vivian McIlrath.
Tampa Fire Rescue crews spray water onto the roof of an apartment building on West Kansas Avenue in Tampa on Tuesday. Smoke was coming from the roof when first responders arrived, and it appears that the fire started there, according to Fire Rescue spokesperson Vivian McIlrath. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]

She said firefighters told her the building was at risk of completely collapsing and no one would be allowed inside.

It’s a “total loss,” Debbi Copeland said. “She lost everything — they all did.”

Tampa Fire Rescue crews work to put out a two-alarm fire at Kansas Avenue Apartments in Tampa on Tuesday.
Tampa Fire Rescue crews work to put out a two-alarm fire at Kansas Avenue Apartments in Tampa on Tuesday. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]

All occupants were safely evacuated and there have been no injuries reported to residents or firefighters at the scene, McIlrath said.

The apartment building has been turned over to the property management company to determine next steps, according to McIlrath. Of the eight units, three were vacant at the time of the fire. At least five residents living in the other units have been displaced.

The American Red Cross was contacted to assist the displaced residents.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Times staff photographer Angelica Edwards contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

Crews are battling a two-alarm fire at an apartment complex in Tampa’s Bayshore district Tuesday afternoon, according to Tampa Fire Rescue. South Carolina Avenue currently is closed, the agency said in a tweet. Motorists are advised to avoid the area.
Crews are battling a two-alarm fire at an apartment complex in Tampa’s Bayshore district Tuesday afternoon, according to Tampa Fire Rescue. South Carolina Avenue currently is closed, the agency said in a tweet. Motorists are advised to avoid the area. [ Tampa Fire Rescue, via Twitter ]
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