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Displaced residents of Miami apartment building fire moved to motel, city works to find permanent housing

Residents burned out of their homes in Miami apartment fire now staying a motel in Doral
Residents burned out of their homes in Miami apartment fire now staying a motel in Doral 02:54

MIAMI - On Tuesday, more than 40 residents displaced by a massive fire at The Temple Court Apartments near downtown Miami were relocated to a motel while the city works to find permanent housing.

On Tuesday, displaced residents were taken from Jose Marti Park to a motel in Doral.    

Many of them say the uncertainty of what lies ahead is scary. 

Miami apartment building fire displaced residents find refuge at a local motel 02:40

One resident said, "We are going to bathe, We are going to sleep. Last night, we did not sleep."

CBS News Miami spoke with one resident who said, "We are more calm. Thank you to everyone who made everything possible."

Over 40 people, most being senior citizens on Section 8 Housing, lost their entire lives in front of their eyes. 

Felicia Fernandez recalls, "The doors opening and the window and the fire coming. And we go to the other building. People living on the other side. Second floor and the fire. I was scared."

One resident says she's lost 23 years of her life in that apartment. 

"What you see me with is all I have left." 

City of Miami leaders say it's going to be a long road ahead, as they check up on the residents with the priority for housing being those with health issues.

Commissioner Miguel Angel Gabela said there was a lady on dialysis. "We're going to prioritize her and there are two other ladies that have cancer." 

According to Gabela, the property management company has agreed to cover the cost of the motel rooms for two weeks. 

He says the city will work diligently to find permanent housing in the meantime. 

Overnight, they stayed at the gym at Jose Marti Park. City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says they will go to moltels for two weeks and then move into permanent housing.

Many of the residents are still in pajamas, the only clothes they have left.

Residents displaced by massive Miami apartment fire to stay at hotel for two weeks 02:35

"Horrible, horrible, muy triste, muy doloroso, (Horrible, horrible, very sad, very painful),"  said a woman who lived at the apartment complex for 23 years before it was heavily damaged by a massive fire Monday.

"There's a specific medication that she needs ASAP," another man said about his mother.

Some were able to grab their walkers, wheelchairs, and pets. Others were not so lucky.

"I have a cat that's like a son to me you know, and I'm very worried because I can't get in to find him. I'm sure he's dead," said another man staying at the park.

According to Miami police, a resident of the building got into an argument with a maintenance technician, shot him, and then set the fire.

"I woke up when I heard the shots," said one woman.

Mayor Suarez visited the residents at the park on Tuesday, offering comfort and support for what's next for these neighbors who lost everything but escaped with their lives.

The mayor says he is working with the Red Cross to help get the residents their medications, and for one woman a charger for her wheelchair.

He said as far as housing is concerned, he is hoping to get them all placed by the time the two weeks in the motel are up.

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