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Investigators: Cigarette Caused Raleigh Apartment Fire

Posted February 3, 2008
Updated February 12, 2008

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— A improperly discarded cigarette sparked a fire that tore through a Raleigh apartment complex, investigators said.

The fire started just after 6 p.m. Saturday at the Governors Point Apartments on Lake Lynn in Building 3211.

Of the building's 20 units, fire, smoke or water damaged 18.

Investigators said Sunday that a cigarette in a balcony flower pot started the fire.

"It is amazing how expensive they [cigarettes] get these days," fire witness Michael Hendrick said.

Hendrick lives a couple buildings down from the fire. When he came home Saturday, he said a massive cloud of smoke swirled around police and firefighters.

"The whole parking lot was drenched in a thick fog of black smoke. You could see spotlights coming down from the fire engine ladders," he said.

Hendrick said that the huge flames made it hard to believe that no one was injured.

Four firefighters were briefly trapped when a ceiling collapsed. They were able to make their way out of the building safely, however.

The Red Cross is helping 20 displaced residents. A dog was still missing Sunday afternoon, and it was not known if the pet perished in the fire.

Hendrick said renter's insurance is required at the Governors Point Apartments. That coverage will help as displaced residents look for new homes and possessions.

15 Comments

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  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Feb 4, 2008

    "Ban smoking indoors."

    More like:

    "Ban smoking"

  • djofraleigh Feb 4, 2008

    one more case for the use of sprinklers in mult-unit housing...

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Feb 4, 2008

    its not just the people that smoke its also the foolish people that use a charcoal grill on a deck or near a place as well. People need to start and think about what these things might do. Including all the people with dogs and cats that go round do-do-ing all over the place while their owners do no care,. If I see this I use my pelet or bb gun and shut them in the _SS

  • sidecutter Feb 4, 2008

    Ban smoking indoors.

  • 1crazygirl Feb 4, 2008

    Im not sure why this turned into an attack on smokers (and Im not one), but MY comment is Im glad they all have renters insurance so that most of their belongings can be replaced.

  • avidreader Feb 4, 2008

    If they know which pot on which balcony on which apartment, then bring that person up on charges. Make sure your fire is out before you walk off.

  • suchhappiness Feb 4, 2008

    Yet ANOTHER fire caused by smokers? Nooooooo, it CAN'T be !!!!

  • dlb800 Feb 4, 2008

    I have an idea. Make the person(s) who started the fire pay for
    EVERYTHING. Yeah, I know, there is no chance that they could
    afford it because if they could afford it, then they wouldn't
    be living in an apartment.

    Fine, make them work for the rest of their lives. Put them in
    prison. We should be making people in jail and prison to work
    to pay for their owns incarceration anyways.

  • haggis basher Feb 4, 2008

    stupid habit......but the real problem is lax building codes. The fire should have been contained to the unit in question. This not rocket science and would add only a small percentage to building costs. We can rebuild apartments but these fires are costing lives as well.

  • pcmd10 Feb 4, 2008

    I am certainly sorry that that fire destroyed so much. However, I am a person who agrees with the other user that said that smokers act as if the world is their ashtray. I am all for higher taxes on smoking. These taxes can go, in part to, clean up the nasty cigarettes being flung out of car windows. Until smokers, in general, can start being more responsible for their discards, I don't believe any of them deserve any rights.

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