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Raleigh apartment fire displaces 20 residents

Posted July 19, 2011

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— About a dozen units were damaged in an apartment complex fire on Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh on Tuesday afternoon. 

The fire that broke out at Gorman Crossings, 3801 Gorman St., was caused by an electrical disconnect box in the air conditioning unit on the back of the building, fire officials said. 

There were no reports of injuries in the fire. One firefighter was taken from the scene in an ambulance for a back injury. 

"I didn't grab anything. I didn't even grab my shoes," fire victim Matt Church said of running from the blaze, which was reported just before 5:30 p.m. 

Gorman Crossing Fire Fire ravages Raleigh apartment complex

It took crews about 30 minutes to extinguish the fire. 

Firefighters rescued cats and other animals from the complex. 

"I really did not expect to see her again," Constance Starkey said of her 2-year-old cat, Sicily. 

When firefighters carried the cat out of the building, Starkey collapsed into her father's arms. 

"They are life-savers in every sense of the word," Starkey said. 

Sicily was treated with oxygen at the scene. 

Starkey has another cat whom she cannot find. Neighbors said they saw it run away. 

avent ferry fire Firefighters fight blaze, extreme heat in Raleigh

The American Red Cross is helping the 20 residents, including three children, who were displaced. 

Avent Ferry Road was closed between Gorman Street and Trailwood Drive for several hours as crews battled the blaze.


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  • micah Jul 20, 2011

    Arthur, Section 903.3.1.2 requires sprinklers in all apartments built since 2006.

  • kikinc Jul 20, 2011

    I used to live in these apartments when I went to State 10 years ago. Sadly, I'm not surprised this happened. The apartments weren't well maintained back then.

  • Frank Downtown Jul 20, 2011

    I support a requirement for sprinkler systems in all apartments. It should be an ordinance for all new apartments, townhouses, or any connected residences.

  • carolinagirl75 Jul 20, 2011

    My heart goes out to these folks. Seeing the couple hugging brings back memories of our house fire. They will get through this and be stronger for it. Right now, though, they're just hurting.

  • Insane in the left lane Jul 20, 2011

    Thanks for saving the people and their pets.

  • Scubagirl Jul 20, 2011

    So glad there was no loss of 4 or 2 legged life. Good job to the firemen!

  • haggis basher Jul 20, 2011

    Don't the fire codes require fire walls between each apartment block??? Its ridiculous that the fire can spread so easily....these problems were solved 100 years ago and do not cost that much......

  • ncsulilwolf Jul 20, 2011

    Thank you, firefighters and first responders! Great video and pics of the pets rescued. Hope none others were lost!

  • mpheels Jul 20, 2011

    lorenait - Apartment fires are no more common than house fires, they just get more news coverage. EVERY apartment fire makes the news, because they seem more dramatic and generally impact more people than a house fire. House fires only make the news if there are deaths, or if it's a slow news day.

    With regard to renters' insurance, I had to show proof of insurance before I could get the keys to my apartment. They didn't care how much coverage I have for my own things, but required a minimum of $100K in liability coverage in case I cause a fire or flood. Renter's insurance is pretty cheap - I have a pretty good policy for $140 a year ($500K in personal coverage, $100K in liability, plus insurance will pay for a hotel if needed).

  • mabachew Jul 20, 2011

    My apartment required a $100,000 in renters insurance before I moved in as well.