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Blaze Breaks Out At Dade Townhome, Some Pets Rescued

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KENDALL (CBSMiami) -- A faulty charger caused a major blaze at a townhome in southwest Miami-Dade Thursday morning.

Miami-Dade Fire investigator Garret Forrester says the charger for battery operated tools is to blame.  The charger malfunctioned and it or the batteries caught fire.

The 2nd alarm blaze broke out around 6 a.m. at the home located at 11377 SW 116th Terrace Road.

People nearby say they heard a loud explosion then saw the fire.

Felix Lao lives nearby residence. He said he was at work when he got a call from his wife who told him there had been a loud blast.

"She woke up when she heard the explosion. She looked out the window and saw the fire on the shed, fire on the little house on the patio," he said

Stephane Lao, 15, said she woke to her mother yelling for help.

"I heard my mom screaming, telling me to call 911. When I got up and went to my backyard I saw the whole floor was on fire," she said.

The fire climbed the walls of the townhome and spread to two neighboring units.

Neighbors went door to door sounding the alarm.

"Some of the neighbors, where the main occupancy was, actually woke up their neighbor and said your house is on fire," said Miami-Dade Battalion Chief Ralph Baena.

One man tried in vain to fight the fire.

"I started hosing down the whole yard but it was too much. The flames were tremendous, the flames were high, like 30 feet high," said Mario Mier.

When fire crews arrived, everyone in burning townhomes had already escaped to safety.

Firefighters were able to put out the blaze and rescue some of the animals that were inside the home.

Firefighters rescued two cats and one dog but were unable to get to chickens that were in the home. They died.

The person who lived in the home was not injured. One of the adjacent townhomes was also heavily damaged in the fire.

The Red Cross those residents to find temporary shelter.

Miami-Dade Fire investigator Garret Forrester said the cause of the fire was a faulty charger for battery operated tools. The charger malfunctioned and it, or the batteries, caught fire.

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