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Teen stops apartment fire from being ‘a lot worse’
Recent Gainesville High grad, future Marine puts out kitchen blaze
Mauricio Alberto
Mauricio Alberto
Mauricio Alberto, a recent Gainesville High School graduate, put out the blaze in this kitchen in the Versaille Apartments on Park Hill Drive on Thursday, stopping the fire from being 'a lot worse,' according to Gainesville Fire Department spokesman Keith Smith. - photo by For The Times

Mauricio Alberto’s brother thought someone was smoking or vaping at the neighboring apartment in the Versailles Apartments Thursday night on Park Hill Drive.

“When the owner came to her apartment, she opened the door, and I saw all that smoke,” he said.

Without hesitation, 17-year-old Mauricio knew to grab the hallway fire extinguisher.

“When I went in there with the fire extinguisher, it was just from the stove up, that all was burning. And it was already spreading pretty quickly,” he said.

Gainesville Fire Department spokesman Keith Smith credited Mauricio, who recently graduated from Gainesville High, with extinguishing the fire that heavily damaged the kitchen.

Mauricio will be enlisting in the United States Marine Corps.

Smith said the estimated damage was $15,000.

“He really prevented the fire that could have been a lot worse,” Smith said.

In the apartment above, Smith said a dog was inside while smoke was starting to enter.

“It had a good bit of smoke in it. He did find the dog in there and brought it out to her,” Smith said.

No one was injured in the fire, and the apartment’s occupants have been moved to another apartment. 

Smith could not confirm what caused the fire, adding that the fire marshal’s office will be investigating. From speaking with his neighbor, Mauricio said the stove had some sort of malfunction.

“Personnel worked to ensure the fire was out, check for any extension and remove smoke,” Smith wrote in a news release.