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Fire Damages Apartment Complex; 2 Residents Sent to Hospital

Posted April 9, 2008
Updated April 10, 2008

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— Two people were sent to a hospital after an apartment fire in Durham Wednesday evening.

The fire at 425 E. Pilot St. started just after 7 p.m. at the Durham Residential Hall.

The fire was contained to one unit. A fire chief credited the building's construction with preventing the blaze from spreading.

“When you got a lot of brick and concrete, it helps to keep the fire contained to the room, as long as the door is closed and it doesn't spread down the hallway. It's then just a room-and-content fire,” Durham Fire Department Battalion Chief Willie Hall said.

The fire forced residents to get out of the complex quickly. Some say they only had time to grab their pocketbooks and identification. Others came home to find fire fighters on the scene.

“All I know is everything I own is up there. I moved here six months ago,” Theresa Woodward said.

Hall said the fire started in a first-floor unit. It appeared the resident of that apartment was burning incense near some clothes that caught fire, and it spread to a bed, he said.

Two residents with minor respiratory difficulties suffered minor problems when they had to evacuate the building without their oxygen tanks. Firefighters withheld their names Wednesday night.

As a precaution, power was shut off to the 60-unit complex for a short time while firefighters investigated. Two other units sustained smoke and water damage.

Residents were allowed back in by 9:30 p.m.

The property manager plans to relocate the displaced residents.

The apartments are near North Carolina Central University, but are not considered student housing.

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