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6 condos destroyed, 3 damaged in Chapel Hill fire

Posted January 28, 2013

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— A blaze that destroyed six units and damaged three others at a Chapel Hill condominium complex Monday morning likely started in the attic of one unit and quickly spread to the others, authorities said.

The fire broke out around 10 a.m. in an 18-unit building at University Gardens, 800 Pritchard Ave. Extension, and spread down the length of the building.

Investigators weren't sure Monday morning what sparked the fire but said the 18-unit building was inspected last week and that the smoke detectors in it were working.

There were no injuries reported, although there were some concerns early on about pets that had been unaccounted for. Four dogs were rescued and returned to their owners, a fire department spokeswoman said, but no animals died in the fire.

According to Eric Plow, the president of the complex's homeowners association, many of the condos are privately owned but are leased to tenants. Most of them, he said, have renter's insurance.

Chapel Hill condo fire Fire rips through Chapel Hill condos

Pavielle Williamson was at work when she received a call about the fire. She returned home to find her condo destroyed.

"I'm glad that everybody's OK, and that's all that matters to me," she said. "Everything in the apartment can be replaced. Photos are photos, but a life is a life."

The American Red Cross was working Monday to assist about a dozen residents with a place to stay.

In their inspections last week, fire marshals noted that units did not have fire extinguishers and that residents needed to get them, but it wasn't clear if the units had them.

19 Comments

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  • tarabunner34 Jan 29, 12:17 p.m.

    A cat is missing from one of the apartments and believed escaped. She is a long haired gray and white cat. Please notify Chapel Hill Authorities if you see her.

  • sophiemom Jan 28, 6:12 p.m.

    I lived in those apartments as a student at UNC in the 1970s. I cannot believe they are still standing.

  • iron fist Jan 28, 6:08 p.m.

    Condos or apartments? Terrible news for those affected I agree with those who stated it is important to have renters insurance, the Red Cross can help with housing for short term but without insurance they will have a difficult time starting over

  • whatelseisnew Jan 28, 6:02 p.m.

    "The Red Cross steps in for immediate action; insurance companies can take days, weeks, months, even years - to investigate and settle a case, and you're out in the cold all that time waiting for them.

    Some people are still trying to rebuild from the tornadoes that hit Sanford because they're waiting on actions of insurance companies."

    I guess that means you do not buy insurance. At least with that, the Government is not yet forcing you to buy it. I have never had a problem with a claim settlement. Not saying it does not happen, but insurance companies do pay out billions and billions and billions of dollars. Unlike the Federal Government bailout for Sandy, taxpayers are not saddled with paying for storm damage and they should NEVER have to pay for that. The Correct fix is for the Government to require insurance companies to pay all damages minus deductible. However, they also must allow the companies to CHARGE appropriate premiums.

  • liskm Jan 28, 6:01 p.m.

    Glad no loss of life (humans or pets). Years ago I happened upon condo fire in S. Village and witnessed firemen carrying out pets, an aquarium. Kudo's to them for caring for residents pet family members!
    As for some of the comments on here, you should be ashamed...

  • Fuquay Resident Jan 28, 4:27 p.m.

    If the fire started in the attic, it was most likely electrical. MAYBE somebody was smoking in the attic, MAYBE somebody had a meth lab in the attic, or MAYBE somebody was cooking bacon in the attic, but it's not likely.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 28, 4:16 p.m.

    right2life - "Another reminder to buy renter's insurance if you rent. Then, the Red Cross won't need to help you if this happens to you."

    The Red Cross steps in for immediate action; insurance companies can take days, weeks, months, even years - to investigate and settle a case, and you're out in the cold all that time waiting for them.

    Some people are still trying to rebuild from the tornadoes that hit Sanford because they're waiting on actions of insurance companies.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 28, 4:13 p.m.

    mojridingrb - "somebody forgot they were cooking bacon and burnt the entire building down ...pay attention peeps!!!"

    How do you know that? The story says, "Investigators weren't sure Monday morning what sparked the fire..."

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 28, 4:11 p.m.

    "A fire department spokeswoman said, however, that no animals died in the fire."

    Thank God for that, and that no one was hurt in this fire, including the emergency workers.

  • sjb2k1 Jan 28, 4:10 p.m.

    cannot stress enough the importance of renter's insurance.

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