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100 Left Homeless After Fla. Fire

December 19, 1997

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) _ Fire raced through a three-story condominium building Thursday, leaving about 100 elderly residents homeless.

One resident suffered chest pains hours after being evacuated and a firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation. There were no other injuries, Fire Chief Jim Henson said.

Residents watched as firefighters fought unsuccessfully to contain the blaze at the King’s Park Condominiums in Oakland Park, a northern suburb of Fort Lauderdale. A towering column of smoke was visible for miles as it billowed from the collapsed roof.

There were no immediate estimates of damage, but Henson said the building and most of its contents were gutted. The quick-moving blaze broke out shortly after 11 a.m., apparently in a kitchen on the top floor.

``When I saw the flames, I cried like a child,″ said Freddie Olavarria, who left behind his Vietnam medals, fishing gear and poetry that he had written to his wife.

Fifty-five firefighters spent nearly two hours battling the fire.

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