A Raleigh epic fire engulfed the city in the biggest inferno on record, since the 1920s. The first call came into the fire department at 10:03 p.m. ET, Thursday. Accordingly, firefighters ran to the scene to fight the huge blaze taking over the construction site of the metropolitan apartment building, in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Raleigh Fire of Epic Proportion
A 911 call from a nearby apartment building detailed that the fire was spreading fast throughout the wood-framed shell of the structure, in the process of being built. The 241-unit, five-story apartment building, under construction, was once where the Raleigh Trailways bus station called home.
The massive inferno turned into a 5-alarm fire, as it spread swiftly, setting aflame foliage and surrounding utility poles. Consequently, nearly 26 fire companies and over 100 firefighters appeared on the scene to battle the monstrous Raleigh fire. Firefighters used aerial ladders to dump water, as they surrounded the area to keep the fire from spreading to other real estates.
Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath noted that the building was inspected on Monday, and showed to be “completely compliant with permit regulations.” Although compliant with the fire codes required for the current stage of construction, McGrath stated that the building did lack sprinklers or fire resistant walls. These items could have prevented the flames from spreading so rapidly.
Observers watched as a huge construction crane seemed to melt from the heat, crash down on utility wires and a smaller building. Amazingly no one was reported to be seriously injured. Only one person, a firefighter, was brought to the hospital after being hurt when a piece of falling glass punctured him. In addition, five people were treated for smoke inhalation.
Residents Impacted by Raleigh Fire
People living in apartments nearby were awakened by the noise and the bright flames, as the Raleigh epic fire engulfed the city. Evacuations took place as the fire took over, damaging neighboring structures. One side of another apartment building was scorched, while flames gutted the floors of commercial building. Officials will be assessing all collateral damage for structural integrity.
At approximately 1:10 a.m., the fire was said to be under control. Duly, crews have stayed on the scene in Raleigh to assure that hot spots do not cause a flare up. McGrath specified that it could be another 12 to 15 hours of soaking the building with water, before assuring the fire is completely out, and the damage can be evaluated.
McGrath spoke out, stating that Raleigh residents should avoid the area so officials can work. Two nearby churches have agreed to provide shelter to anyone displaced by the fire. In addition, the Red Cross is at work readying volunteers to aid those who have had to vacate their residences due to the inferno.
Multiple local restaurants, along with the two churches, have stepped in to donate nourishment to first responders. Quick help has also been provided for local businesses hurt by the blaze. The Raleigh Chamber of Commerce used their Twitter page to notify affected businesses that their offices were to be open on Friday, for them to use. WiFi, copiers, and coffee were provided by the Chamber to distressed businesses.
Raleigh Fire Under Investigation
The examination into its cause started immediately as the Raleigh epic fire engulfed the city. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations are both involved with the investigation. Also, working together to collect evidence, are the Raleigh Police Department and Fire Department.
McGrath has stated that the investigation is just starting. C.J. Hyman, Charlotte Field Division’s Special Agent in Charge, detailed that specialized resources will be needed to assist in determining where and how the fire started. Hyman noted that ATF will work, as a partner with all the agencies, to help Raleigh with the investigation. The total loss of the building destroyed is estimated by ATF to be more than $12 million.
By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Spectrum News: Raleigh Fire the Largest the City Has Seen Since the 1920s
Fox News: Massive fire engulfs Raleigh apartment building under construction
The News & Observer: 5-alarm fire destroys downtown Raleigh apartment construction project
CBS North Carolina WNCN.com: Local businesses, church helping feed Raleigh first responders after 5-alarm fire
Eyewitness News ABC11.com: How did it Happen? Fire Destroys Huge Building Under Construction in Downtown Raleigh
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