A final report is giving new details on the investigation into a massive blaze that ripped through a Miami Gardens condominium complex in January, but concludes the cause of the fire remains undetermined.
The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue report obtained by NBC 6 on Thursday said investigators still don’t know exactly what sparked the Jan. 28 fire at the two-story New World Condominiums at 395 Northwest 177th Street.
The fire impacted at least 75 apartment units and caused the second floor to collapse, leaving around 200 people displaced. No injuries were reported.
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According to the report, investigators were able to determine that the fire began in the attic space above unit 217.
No specific ignition source was found within or near the area of the fire’s origin, the report said.
The person who lives in apartment 217 told fire officials she had a roof leak near the A/C that had been repaired two weeks before the fire. A maintenance person also had come two days before the fire to make repairs to the ceiling and A/C wiring, the report said.
The water damage occurred and repairs were made in the general vicinity of where the smoke was first seen, the report said.
Investigators said that after thoroughly examining the attic space above unit 217, they identified potential ignition sources. The report listed branch circuit wiring within the attic, and an A/C unit mounted on the roof above the east side of the apartment.
The report said the A/C unit had extensive fire damage and could not be ruled out.
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Also in the report were details from a roofing company owner who said workers had been working at the building the day before the fire.
The owner said he was at the building to pick up supplies the day of the fire and saw the smoke coming from above the eaves of apartment 217, the report said.
He said the roofing workers had not been using hot tar or torches, the report said.
The NBC 6 Investigators found Miami-Fade Fire Rescue issued the New World Condominiums 21 citations for fire code violations since 2010, most recently in May of 2021.
About half of all those code enforcement cases remain open, but just last year, the condominium association was found guilty of five fire code violations that were discovered in 2020 and ordered to pay more than $21,000 for those violations.
Last week, a class action lawsuit was filed against the management company, condo association and board of directors of the New World Condominiums by residents .
The complaint claims the defendants saw the fire coming but ignored blatant signs that could have prevented it, including the failure to address the fire code violations and failure to secure proper insurance.