Local News

Cigarette started Durham apartment fire that displaced 12

Posted March 12
Updated March 13

— At least 12 people were displaced Sunday following a fire at an apartment complex in Durham.

The fire broke out at the Crystal Village Apartments at 2620 Camellia Drive at about 3:35 p.m. Authorities said an improperly discarded cigarette smoldered and ignited nearby materials on a second floor balcony, causing the fire.

Nobody was injured, but residents were salvaging what they could and making plans for the night.

“I got a phone call and I was at work when it happened and she said the apartment was on fire, so the first thing that comes to mind, I’m thinking ‘where’s my baby at?’ But she said they were good, they were out of the house in the parking lot,” said Tommy Perkins.

Perkins and his family are among those who were displaced by the fire. Authorities said that the apartment where the fire started suffered severe damage while three other apartments suffered moderate smoke and water damage. Several other apartments lost power when the electric service to the building was cut.

"I pull up and I see a fire and I call 911. I started knocking on everybody's doors," said resident Crystal Talley.

Authorities said a firefighter from the Salisbury Fire Department happened to be on the scene when the fire started and did several initial searches and alerted residents inside the building to the fire.

Nine residents were getting help from the Red Cross Sunday night while others made plans to stay with relatives or friends.

Authorities said the family that lives in the unit where the fire started was not home at the time of the incident.


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  • Megan Goodson Mar 13, 2017
    user avatar

    I hope they do a DNA test on the cigarette and make the person who just tossed it (instead of disposing of it properly) pay for everyone's property to be replaced AND pay for the apartment building to be rebuilt and repaired.

    I hate how careless smokers are, not only is it a horrible habit and it gives people who don't even smoke second hand lung cancer, they don't think of anyone but themselves when they dispose of the disgusting things.

    And say what you all want, but I personally have NEVER seen a smoker go where they are supposed to be to make sure other people aren't breathing their toxic smoke NOR throw their cigs away when they are done with them. Every single of them just toss them to the ground and step on them.

    All they do is whine about how they have to go 20 feet away to smoke from buildings - well this is why. Next time you want to stand close make sure you have $100,000 + to pay for repairs if your a nutcase.

  • Brian Tucker Mar 13, 2017
    user avatar

    I find it hard to believe a cig caused this fire. Cigarette paper burns out if you don't keep puffing on them, that's why a few years ago, cigarette makers had to change the wrapper, so it wouldn't start fires. But it could be possible, I guess.