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1 dead, along with dog, after Palm Beach Gardens apartment fire

Firefighters find body, dead dog inside apartment at Sun Terrace at the Oaks
Posted at 11:04 AM, May 11, 2024

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — One person and a dog were killed in an apartment fire Friday afternoon in Palm Beach Gardens.

Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Cory Bessette said firefighters were called to the Sun Terrace at the Oaks community off RCA Boulevard shortly before 1 p.m. after receiving reports that a victim was inside a burning apartment.

Bessette said firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from the apartment.

Once firefighters extinguished the flames and made their way inside, they found one occupant dead, along with a dog.

A neighbor whose home is connected to the victim's said by the time he realized there was a fire, it was too late.

Tim O'Connell speaks about neighbor killed in apartment fire, May 11, 2024
Sun Terrace at the Oaks resident Tim O'Connell speaks about his neighbor who was killed in an apartment fire, May 11, 2024, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

"I started hearing like a kind of crackling noise, and then the dog started barking, and I don't ever hear her dog bark, so that was kind of odd," Tim O'Connell said. "And then I heard her voice and I thought she was telling the dog to start barking, but then about 30 seconds later I started to smell the smoke."

O'Connell said his home smells like smoke, but there is no physical damage. He and several neighbors said the victim was a kind and gentle soul who loved her dog and the beach.

The state fire marshal was investigating the cause.