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Massive fire rips through Raleigh warehouse

Posted September 21, 2008
Updated September 22, 2008

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— Firefighters spent hours battling a  massive blaze that ripped through a warehouse near Lake Wheeler Road and South Saunders Street Sunday night.

Fire investigators combed the wreckage of the Hunter and Co. Painterswork, 1022 Hammell Drive, on Monday morning. They determined that the cause of the fire was not suspicious and continued to search for the cause of the fire, officials said.

The fire at  started at about 5:45 p.m. and quickly got out of control. Nearby residents said the flames could be seen for miles.

The intense flames kept firefighters from searching the building when they arrived, Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath said.

“The fire had too much headway. Companies immediately went to defensive operations,” McGrath said.

The building, however, was home not just to several businesses but also two men, including Karen Truelove's boyfriend.

"I panicked. I was upset, nervous. I didn't know exactly where he was,” Karen Truelove said.

Truelove said her boyfriend and another man, who live in a room beside one of the shops where they work, were not home when the fire started.

"This is a manufacturing-type place. I wouldn't suspect that people live here,” said McGrath, adding that he was not aware anyone lived inside the steel building.

No one was injured, and firefighters saved half of the building, but the half where Truelove said her boyfriend lived and worked was a total loss.

Several businesses operate out of the building, including a few woodworking shops.

Firefighters were challenged to get water to the scene, because the building is set back from the road. Firefighters ran water lines from hydrants up to 1,500 feet away, McGrath said.

Crews remained on the scene Monday morning, having monitored for hot spots throughout the night.

McGrath said investigators will also look to see if the fact that men lived in the building violated any fire codes.


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  • anneonymousone Sep 22, 2008

    Check Yourself 1st, your message is evidence of a thoughtful and generous heart. I think it's great that you are making certain these folks are reunited with their dog. Thanks for meeting and exceeding my minimum daily requirement of kindness.

  • catfisherman Sep 22, 2008

    I thought we were supposed to live at work now, judging by the 16-hour days some employers want from us.

  • Check Yourself 1st Sep 22, 2008

    If someone knows the couple living in the warehouse, let them know their is a black dog with tags on the scene and doing fine. We tried to get close enough to read the tags, but she wouldn't let us get too close. I saw a report that they were missing their dog. She hung around the warehouse all night, so I bet food and water will bring her out of hiding. Take care.