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Lightning to blame for Raleigh apartment fire

Posted May 23, 2011

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— Twenty-eight people were displaced from their homes early Monday after lightning struck a Raleigh apartment complex, city fire officials said.

The blaze started in an upstairs corner apartment around 3:30 a.m. and destroyed four apartments and damaged four others at The Landings of Mallard Pond at 416 Hensley Drive.

Approximately 70 firefighters were at the scene at the height of the blaze. There were no reports of injuries.

Investigators said apartment’s tenant, Boswell Williams, was at work and that with him not being home it might have delayed the response time to the fire, because residents weren’t immediately aware of it.

“I am just glad for the people downstairs who have children and multiple people living there,” he said. “They are the ones I was really concerned about. I am glad they made it out OK.”

Boswell and others are receiving help from the American Red Cross, and the apartment complex is working to help find them with a place to say.

Raleigh apartment fire 28 displaced in Raleigh apartment fire

Lucky that no one was hurt, victims say they now must rebuild their lives, and what that looks like is unclear.

Some, like Jorge Gonzales, who shares an apartment with several relatives, lost everything.

“I have nothing,” he said. “I have only this (the clothes he’s wearing.) It’s all that I have, right now.”

Boswell was able to recover a handful of items, including diplomas, legal papers, his birth certificate and some paintings.

Cecelia Mayers lost memories.

"I just lost my grandmother in January, so a lot of her personal belongings are now gone," she said. "(The fire is) just something else I have to get over."

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  • Stormy13 May 23, 2011

    When purchasing Renters Ins. always get the type that gives you "repalcement value" on your items, doesn't cost but a few dollars more and well worth it. I have this type and when the duplex I was living in at the time was hit by lightening I lost two TV's, cordless phone w/answering system, and microwave. All was replaced at what the cost was at that time, I was actually able to upgrade to a larger TV for th LR due to a sale price, so it is well worth the little extra cost. My ins. will even pay deposit at a new apt. if needed. In case you are wondering, I am insured with State Farm, both car and rental.

  • bombayrunner May 23, 2011

    never lived anywhere else were this kind of thing is common. this happened to one of my friend's house. has been a real bummer for him to deal with.

  • 2gurlz2boyzMom May 23, 2011

    YES, all the apts that i stayed in REQUIRED renter's insurance - it was much cheaper if you got your own rather than using what the complex offered, and omg... renters' insurance is like $100 a year... $100 well worth it for cases like this. It won't replace memories or antique furniture, but it will help replace what was lost.

  • sallyowens76 May 23, 2011

    Why do aren't all apartment buildings require to have lightning rods?

  • aquamarine46 May 23, 2011

    Many apartment complexes REQUIRE renters insurance now or they will not renew your lease or lease to you at all without it. Good idea!!!!

  • Thought Criminal WS May 23, 2011

    Huh, doesn't anyone find it odd how many Apartment fires there have been lately? I can think of 5 off the top of my head. Something smells fishy... lorenait

    My thoughts exactly considering there are two known firebugs in that area.

  • myopinioncounts May 23, 2011

    This is so sad.. the landings has alot of work to do in improving the status of their apartment buildings. Alot of things don't work, and are not together at that apartment complex. I hope this sparks some investigating on what needs to be done around there. My heart goes out to all the victims, and I will be praying for them.

  • lorenait May 23, 2011

    Huh, doesn't anyone find it odd how many Apartment fires there have been lately? I can think of 5 off the top of my head. Something smells fishy...

  • NCforlife May 23, 2011

    I live at the landings and heard the big boom from the storm and it sounded right outside my window. I had no clue it started a fire until today. My heart goes out to those people and I am so glad no one got hurt. :( Very scary!

  • RaleighMan May 23, 2011

    haggis: They are required on commercial contruction but not on residential (including multi-family housing) construction. All goes back to building code requirements.

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