Local News

Blaze Rampages Through Raleigh Townhouse Complex

Posted February 22, 2007

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— As many as 30 townhouse units were damaged or destroyed by a raging fire that burned through a complex in North Raleigh and made dozens of people homeless Thursday.

The townhouse fire broke out at Pine Knoll Townes, located near the intersection of Old Buffaloe Road and Capital Boulevard. At least three rows of townhouses were involved in the fire.

Beazer Homes USA, the developer of the complex, said 30 units were destroyed. The company said 20 were occupied and five had been completed but were unsold.

Raleigh firefighters remained on the scene through the night, attacking "hot spots" of fire they found in the rubble.

The American Red Cross said it had helped 65 people who were forced out by the fire. The Red Cross set up a Disaster Assistance Center to provide shelter, food, clothing, medicines and other emergency needs.
"This is, like, all I have. It's scary," resident Randolyn Hinton said through tears as smoke blew from the fire. She said she first feared her boyfriend had been caught in the fire.

"Some people just moved over here, and it's just messed up that to see that their homes that they bought to live in for years to come just went up in flames," resident Ramel Parks said.

Witnesses told WRAL that the smoke from the fire was so thick in spots that it was hard to see the road. Several homes and businesses in the area were evacuated, including the neighboring Emporium Plaza shopping center.

Firefighters said strong winds hampered their efforts to extinguish the fire, which sent up a plume of smoke visible for miles and that was thick enough to be captured on weather radar.

Assistant Fire Chief Tommie Ann Styons said the fire did not appear to be suspicious, but the cause had not been determined.

“We were fortunate that we were able to get a lot of resources here in a hurry and just surround it and cut it off. That’s really all you can shoot for in this sort of environment” Styons said. “With this wind, it doesn’t take much.”

Rush-hour traffic backed up for miles along Capital Boulevard because of the heavy smoke, and officials urged motorists to avoid the area.

There were no reports of any injuries.


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  • kittiboo Feb 23, 2007

    KMW, I am soo sorry to hear about your kitties. That is my absolute worst fear for my pets, and I hope their insticts kicked in and they were able to get out safely.
    My thoughts go out to all involved.

  • bigbr0ther Feb 23, 2007

    And just to inform the person that posted about the firewalls. THey do work, but what most likely happened here was that the fire got up in the attic areas of the house and spread through the roof.

  • bigbr0ther Feb 23, 2007

    I went to this fire, I saw the outcome of it. The Raleigh fire fighters and voll. fire fighters from New Hope and various other departments did a wonderful job today. I know it may not look like it, but givin the fact that there was another fire in the city at the same time in the same area, they did great. The reason that I brought that up was because of that fire, most of the fire stations in the area was on scene at that fire. This ment that the engine and ladder companys that were dispatched out to the Pine Knoll townhouse fire, had to travel greater distance. The winds had an upper hand on the fire too. The high winds made it to where the fire could "jump" from townhouse to townhouse. It is very difficult to fight fire in high winds. Just look at the wild fires out in the plains and out west. I saw fire do things today that I have never seen in my life. I heard men that have been fighting fire for 20+ years say that too. So please dont talk like the FD didnt do their jobs.

  • Lit Feb 22, 2007

    What a massive and terrible fire. Best of wishes to the people coping with this incident.

  • dhamma Feb 22, 2007

    kmw0316, I am very sorry about your home. I am a pet owner (2 cats, 1 dog). Don't give up hope. It is very possible they got out. You may want to setup some feeding stations around the area and see that will attract them. Did they have a Microchip implant? That would also help track them down. You may also want to talk to the people at SafeHaven for cats. http://www.safehavenforcats.org/ THey may be able to help with setting up some traps and other ways of attracting them. If you have pictures of them that would be helpful also. You could post them around the shopping center and other areas. Do you know if any others are missing pets? Working as a team would be a good idea. I am going to also send you an email to the address you posted.

  • Hambone Feb 22, 2007

    I mean, I wish you the best of luck finding the cats. My last comment could have been taken negatively. My heart goes out to all of you.

  • Hambone Feb 22, 2007

    Good luck finding the cats!

  • mikeNC Feb 22, 2007

    kmw0316, you and your neighbors certainly have the thoughts and well wishes of us all. I wish you well and hope you find your cats.

  • westfamily6979 Feb 22, 2007

    I am thankful no one was hurt or worse lets just all say a mighty prayer for the familys who are now suffering because of this tradegy

  • kmw0316 Feb 22, 2007

    I am victum of the Pine Knoll Townhome fire. I just wanted to thank everyone for their blessings. I was unable to save two of my cats and just wanted to see if anyone finds a black female cat named Trixe (she has a tag eith her name and my # on it) and a black and white male cat named Guinness (also has tag) there collars may have fallen off, so if you do see them around there area please email me at kmw0316@mail.ecu.edu or call the number (I will find a computer to check)They are beloved members of my family an I love them very much I appreciate any help anyone could offer. Thank you and God Bless