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Officials: Residents of Raleigh's Link apartments could be allowed back in this week

Posted March 29

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— Officials with the Link apartments, located near the site of a five-alarm fire in Raleigh's Glenwood South restaurant and bar district, said residents should be able to get back into undamaged units by the end of the week.

The company told WRAL they are waiting on city inspectors who have been in and out to officially deem the property safe.

Emily Ethridge, a spokesperson for the company that owns the Link apartments, said about 75 percent of the 204 apartments were not damaged in the fire.

There are also a few vacant apartments that were not damaged that residents will be able to move into.

Samantha Jeffrey lost everything in the blaze and said it is time to move on.

"It’s not the end of the end of the world. I haven't invested my entire life into these items," she said. "They are things, so I know I can buy new things, and I can move into a different apartment. So, it’s not the end of the world, but depending on the day sometimes it’s harder than others."

Jeffrey is one of eight members of Raleigh CrossFit who got a helping hand from a fundraiser organized by the gym. They raised more than $4,000 for fire victims.

She said when flames threatened her apartment, she grabbed a backpack and ran.

"I think the shock only wore off about a day or so ago, so it's just kind of hitting me now versus two weeks ago," Jeffrey said.

The city allowed Jeffrey and other residents to return to their apartments for necessities. But on one visit, Jeffrey said she discovered a sentimental item missing — signed, worn cleats from two Carolina Panthers players. The cleats were valued at $1,000.

"I had them for eight years now, so that's the most favorite possession I own," Jeffrey said.

She is one of three residents who have filed police reports saying their apartments were looted after the fire. One woman said a Rolex watch was taken, and another man had a list of items that were stolen, including electronics.

The Link's management said they are aware and have hired off-duty police officers 24-hours a day to watch the property.

"I've lost everything, so I'm feeling kind of victimized by people who know just how vulnerable I am right now," Jeffrey said. "And then there are times where I'm like, well, I've lost everything, what's one more thing at this point."

The five-alarm fire engulfed an apartment building under construction on March 16. The fire spread to nine nearby buildings and forced evacuations. The Quorum Center and Link apartments suffered extensive damage. A firefighter cut by glass is the only known injury from the fire, believed to be Raleigh's largest in almost 100 years.

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