Local News

Apartment manager says cigarette caused Durham fire

Posted May 30

Four people were taken to the hospital and a firefighter was treated for dehydration early Monday after fire damaged part of the fifth floor of JFK Towers on North Roxboro Road, fire officials said.
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— Four people were taken to the hospital and a firefighter was treated for dehydration early Monday after fire damaged part of the fifth floor of JFK Towers on North Roxboro Road, fire officials said.

Fire crews responded to the apartment complex at about 11:20 Sunday evening, and the fire was under control about 20 minutes later.

According to the apartment manager at JFK towers, the fire started because someone fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his mouth. This is the second fire the complex has had in the last several years.

At least one room on the fifth floor of the complex was badly damaged, and parts of the fourth and fifth floors sustained water damage from the sprinkler system.

Four residents were taken to local hospitals for treatment of smoke inhalation. One of the patients also had first-degree burns on his hands and wrists, officials said. A firefighter was treated on scene.

"I didn't panic because I knew [the fire] wasn't on my side," said Rebecca Clay. a resident who lives on the fifth floor. "I feel much better knowing that no one was killed. I'm grateful for that. It could have been much worse."

It's unclear how many people were displaced by the fire, but the American Red Cross and Durham County Emergency Management are assisting residents.

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  • Maureen Mercer May 30, 11:29 p.m.
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    Wonder if that smoker will be sued by the people for damages from the fire.