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Fire rips through Raleigh apartment complex

Posted August 24, 2013
Updated August 25, 2013

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— A raging fire that ripped through a Raleigh apartment building Saturday evening left dozens of residents without a home and drew dozens of onlookers as flames shot through the roof.

fire Fire crews battle blaze at Camden Crest

About 70 firefighters were called to blaze at the Camden Crest Apartments, at 5024 Manor Valley Court, just after 6:30 p.m.

Fire officials said they aren't sure what caused the fire but believe it started in the back of the building and that the flames spread quickly because the four-story apartment building was made of wood and vinyl.

"It was very intense, like standing in front of a barbecue and it kept getting hotter, so we had to move away from the building," resident Leonard Windham said Saturday night. "I don't think anybody's going to be able to spend the night in here, at least, and it may be until tomorrow until we find out what's left."

Thirty-seven apartment units were damaged and 53 residents were displaced, according to the Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

There were no reports of injuries.

"Life can change in an instant and you have to appreciate what the most important things in life are," Windham said.

Roads were closed around the scene for several hours, and officials said one firefighter was taken to the hospital with elevated blood pressure.

13 Comments

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  • WhoMe44a Aug 28, 9:54 a.m.

    The fire started in the back left of the building, cause was a cigarette being put out in to a fragrance hot pot that was sitting on a TV tray. the TV tray was knocked over after ignition and a small fire on the floor of the balcony quickly spread to the wall of the balcony into the attic system.

    The people who live in this unit have been banned from future renting any Camden properties nation wide.

    Camden Crest has a $1,000,000 deductible on their insurance policy that they must pay before anything will be done through insurance.

  • ReaderJen Aug 26, 2:41 p.m.

    Just remember to keep a copy of your insurance documents somewhere other than your apartment or home.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 26, 2:35 p.m.

    "I hope the red cross is helping these people. I am so glad no one was killed."

    My insurance has loss of use, I would need nothing from the red cross and it is very easy for everyone to have that type of protection. In fact, if I had lost everything, I would be out now buying all brand new stuff.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 26, 2:34 p.m.

    One of the downsides of cramming people close together. Even single family homes are at risk of this sort of thing because in a lot of the neighborhoods they cram them in right next to each other making it easier for fire to spread from one house to another. Even with firewalls, if the roof catch on fire it is easy for the fire to spread from building to building. Hopefully all these folks have renters insurance. It is very very cheap and well worth having.

  • 678devilish Aug 26, 1:16 p.m.

    I hope the red cross is helping these people. I am so glad no one was killed.

  • Taffy Aug 26, 12:17 p.m.

    Why are apartments being built without firewalls? This should be a no brainer. I watched one being built on the corner of S. Miami & Hopson Rd. Frame construction & no firewalls.Renters please make sure you have fire insurance because the odds are great for a fire. My prayers are with those who have lost everything.

  • wdprice3 Aug 26, 11:40 a.m.

    Many of you are mistaken about how fire sprinkler systems work.

    Sprinkler systems are not designed to put out large fires. The intent is to reduce the heat of the fire to avoid structural collapse to allow occupants to evacuate.

  • zonk Aug 26, 11:01 a.m.

    I would love to see the number of Raleigh apartment fires in the last say 18 months. It would blow your mind how many there have been. It's like an epidemic.

  • seumfithy Aug 26, 10:48 a.m.

    Not clear that the building was to blame. There's thousands of turn of the last century big homes in Raleigh that don't burn so long. The back corner of the apt. shown on video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3vamnMb_YU show the fire thru the roof, RPD present, then 2 fire truck arriving 1:09 min. into the tape, without catching the hydrant 100' behind the trucks, and 5 minutes later still no water on the hot spot of the fire on the back corner.

    The building has four sides and the video only shows one. The initial fire attack was underway by the first arriving units on the front side of the building.

  • corgimom06 Aug 26, 10:30 a.m.

    I used to work for this company, at this particular community. The buildings are all equipped with sprinkler systems throughout the apartments and walkways. Very scary that it went up like this with that consideration. Hopefully all the residents followed the company policy of having renter's insurance. When I was there you had to have proof to move in but who knows if they cancelled it after? Very sad for all the people displaced but really glad that no one was hurt.

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