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Raleigh Gardens apartment fire displaces 10

Posted January 9, 2010
Updated January 10, 2010

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— A two-alarm fire at the Raleigh Gardens apartment complex Saturday morning sent a man to the hospital and displaced 10 people, some of whom lost all their belongings.

Unattended cooking sparks Raleigh apartment fire Unattended cooking sparks Raleigh apartment fire

A call about the fire at 6149 St. Giles St., between Glenwood Avenue and Duraleigh Road, came in at 9:28 a.m., said Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Styons. Firefighters arrived four minutes later and found that a fire had started in Apartment E on the second floor of the three-story building.

Resident Charles Carr said he was woken up by firefighters banging on his door, warning residents to get out.

"About 10 minutes after standing out here, the flames were shooting about 20 feet up in the air," Carr said. "It was real bad. I thought the whole building was going to burn down."

The fire spread through the third floor into the attic, but a firewall protected the other half of the building, Styons said. Fifty firefighters used 10 pieces of equipment to bring the fire under control in about 20 minutes.

Edward Bundy, who lives, in Apartment E, suffered from smoke inhalation and was taken to WakeMed. He was listed in good condition Saturday.

"He had black smoke all over him. I don't know how long he might have inhaled that smoke," resident Roger Jones said.

Falling ceilings, flames and smoke and water damage made 10 single-bedroom units uninhabitable, Styons said. The 12 units in the other half of the building were undamaged.

"The firewall really did its job well and saved the units on the other side, so you'll have 12 people who are able to return to their homes this afternoon," Styons said.

The Red Cross is assisting those displaced by the fire.

Fire investigators determined that unattended cooking caused the fire. Residents said they heard that a stove exploded.

"I heard something explode in his apartment. You could hear things crackling," said Jones, who lives next door to Apartment E.

Jones, 66, lost medication for high blood pressure and heart conditions – along with pictures of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Basically, I'm homeless," he said. "(But) I don't look at it like some people. ... I don't worry about materialistic things. I trust in God almighty."

Jones praised the efforts of firefighters, who had to ask for a sand truck to cover over water that froze on the roads.

"Firefighters are doing a good job with this chill factor. And with the elements, they did an excellent job, and they kept it from burning up both sections," he said.

Carr said he was lucky enough to live in the half of the building that was undamaged, but his thoughts were with those who lost their homes.

"I'm still sad about the ones who lost all of their stuff in their apartments," he said.

Jones, who has lived in the complex for 15 years, consoled other residents and encouraged them to look past their losses.

"Some of the ladies that live over here in this building said, 'All my stuff!'" Jones recalled. "I said, 'Sweetheart, you shouldn't worry about your stuff.' Say, 'Thank God that you got out alive.'"

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