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Fire chief: Apex townhome blaze was accidental

Posted June 5, 2009

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— A fire at an Apex townhome complex was accidental and likely caused by some type of improperly discarded smoking material, the town's fire chief said Friday.

Flames spread through a building in the Bradley Terrace subdivision off Tingen Road Thursday afternoon, damaging three units. Three others also sustained water and smoke damage.

House on Fire_Apex_02 Apex townhome blaze ruled accidental

Chief Mark Haraway said the fire started on the back patio of one of the units.

Work crews were assessing damage to the building Friday morning as displaced residents tried to salvage belongings.

Samuel Purafoy said he was helping his daughter, who lives in one of the units, pack some of her things.

"I'm just here helping out, but I'm devastated," he said.

A local chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting residents, some of whom said they do not have renter's insurance.

Contractors on site Friday also said that because of the economic downturn in the housing market, contractors are flocking to disasters, like the fire, in an effort to get work.

"You start noticing people that are in new-home building start to get into the restoration business," said Brian Charlebois with Cary Reconstruction. "You see them pop up at fires while you're there."


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  • cucrnc Jun 9, 2009

    so, the new home contractors are flocking to fires and floods like ambulance chasers. wait till they find out restoring a damaged home is way way way harder than building a new structure. leave the fixing to the fixers, boys. go away.

  • itsme2002 Jun 5, 2009

    I have 12,000 dollars worth of renters insurance for about 100 dollars a year.(12,000 isn't much but it will cover my personal items, all the appliaces came with my condo and belong to the landlord) My insurance company lets me pay 25 dollars every 3 months. It is such a small price to pay compared to losing everything you own and no money to buy what you lost. My heart goes out to all the families.

  • mocena Jun 5, 2009

    annemarek- Or a passing teenager or a cigarette tossed from a car or a meter reader or... Why jump to landscapers?

  • furburg Jun 5, 2009

    It should almost be mandatory to have Renters Insuracnce these days, it dont make no sense not to have it living in an apartment or a townhome because you never know what might be hanpping in your neighbors place.

  • mpheels Jun 5, 2009

    Negligence: failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances

    banditkitty6, discarding a cigarette improperly, in this case I'm guessing it was flicked into mulch or pine straw, is definitely negligent. Unless you're saying that disposing of smoldering materials into a pile of flammable substance is something a reasonably prudent person would do. God may be in control, but one of his means of control is giving us brains so we can think and do things on our own to prevent events like this.

  • uncw05 Jun 5, 2009

    banditkitty6- actually I think it would be the very definition of negligent. They NEGLECTED to dispose of their cigarettes in the proper manner.

  • banditkitty6 Jun 5, 2009

    itsnewstome-It is very clear that you don't like smoking, however, just because someone smokes and something like this occurs does not make them negligent. Irresponsible, perhaps, but not negligent. I hope that they did not mean to do it, and I doubt they did, but to suggest that they don't care just because they are smokers is both an irrational and insensitive statement to make. I am almost certain that whoever did this feels very badly, as I am sure they know who they are... Unfortunately, accidents happen and that is why we have insurance. For example, someone hit my less than 1 year old car in the parking lot at work a couple weeks ago. I am pretty sure they knew what they did, but they did not report it or leave a note. I will have to pay for it, it stinks, but it may well have been they just didn't know. God is in control, not us. So to attribute this to smokers not caring is incongruent thinking. BTW, I am an ex-smoker...

  • annemarek Jun 5, 2009

    So the fire started from discarded cigarette. If no one was home, who would throw a lit cigarette in the back yard? The only people around were the landscapers. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions but I strongly suspect that it was the landscapers. No one else would be in back of the units that caught fire. These complexes back up to a wooded are with no easy access.

  • itsnews2me Jun 5, 2009

    re: "was accidental and likely caused by some type of improperly discarded smoking material"

    smokers throwing lit material around may not intend to start a fire, but I don't think such actions can be caused accidental given smokers must know the risk of starting fires from their habit, but just don't care - much like they don't care about the risks to their health from smoking. However, now some smoker has caused damages to others through carelessness with their habit - it is more negligent than accidental.

  • uncw05 Jun 5, 2009

    I used to go without renters insurance because I assumed it was too expensive. Then I lived somewhere where they required it. Ended up being barely over $100 a year. Totally worth it for peace of mind knowing I wouldn't be starting over with nothing but my car if there was a fire. Everyone should look into it. It's often cheaper if you can get it bundled with your car insurance or a family members home owners insurance.