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Firefighters extinguish two-alarm apartment complex fire

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Updated: 8/19/2013 12:11 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department battled a two-alarm fire at the Woods of Mandarin Apartments on Sunday afternoon.

JFRD says they responded to the 3200 block of Hartley Road around 11:30 a.m. 

The American Red Cross is helping at least 16 people who were displaced.

Kimberly Pabon and Toujuan Stringfield say the fire started in their living room.

"I opened the door and flames were coming up from behind the couch," said Stringfield.

Pabon was only able to salvage a charred jewelry box and an anniversary gift from Stringfield. She says the fire spread so quickly they were forced to leave their pet rabbit behind.

"Everything we had in that apartment is all we had, everything is gone," said Pabon.

Firefighters say all four apartments on the second floor were destroyed after the fire left a gaping hole in the roof. Four other apartments on the first floor also suffered water damage.

Crews say the fire was so intense it took them almost half an hour to get it under control.

"The fire was getting ready to make its away across a common attic over to the other part of the building which is why I give kudos to the initial crews; they did a lot of work to stop that," said Roger Lewis, JFRD.

While Pabon and Stringfield are thankful to still have each other, they say some things just can't be replaced.

"It's more sentimental than material," said Pabon.

The couple says they don't know how the fire started. Stringfield says he noticed the smoke after returning from walking his dog. The couple will spend the night in a hotel.

The Red Cross is helping families with money for food, clothes and lodging.

The State Fire Marshal's Office is tasked with determining the cause of the fire.

No injuries were reported at the scene.

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