Raleigh, N.C. — Seven people were being treated for smoke inhalation Friday night after a fire in an apartment building near North Carolina State University, authorities said.
The fire started in a ground-floor apartment at the Mission Valley Apartments complex, on Centennial Parkway, at about 4 p.m.
"I started hearing people scream, 'Fire, fire!' That's when I started smelling smoke. I opened my door and all the smoke just started billowing through," said Eamonn Frier.
He lives on the top floor and had to crawl to safety. "Trying to stay below the smoke because it was so thick. I couldn't even see two feet in front of me," Frier said.
Four people were taken to Rex Hospital, and two others were taken to WakeMed, authorities said. All six, including a Raleigh police officer, were being treated for smoke inhalation.
Frier said he saw an officer enter the building as he was coming out. "He put his gas mask on and he went in and, by what I hear, he got a few people out of there."
Another, resident, a woman, was taken to a hospital later when she complained of shortness of breath.
Authorities began allowing some residents back into the building shortly before 7 p.m., but they declared dozens of units uninhabitable. The American Red Cross established a staging area at a nearby Burger King to assist people displaced by the fire.