Teen hero wakes neighbors after lightning sparks Raleigh apartment fire
Posted April 10, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A 13-year-old girl was the hero of her Courtney Place neighbors Friday after she took it upon herself to wake them to the danger of a lightning-sparked fire.
Tom Gildea, who lives nearby, said the lightning strike sounded like an explosion. It woke him out of a sound sleep just after midnight.
"All of a sudden, (there was) this white flash of light. It was an amazing light, and all of a sudden, there was a bam sound," he said. "I can't explain how loud that sound was."
It took about 70 firefighters to extinguish the flames, according to an incident report released by the Raleigh Fire Department. Four units in the two-story complex were engulfed in flames.
"When the first units arrived on scene, most of the roof structure was already involved," Raleigh Assistant Fire Chief Kendall HoCutt said.
While the five residents inside made it out safely, Tealyiah Carter noticed the flames beginning to melt the siding of another nearby building and took it upon herself to warn those who live there.
"I just did what anybody else would do for people," she said.
One woman was taken to a hospital after the fire because of a burn on her foot. She was released late Friday morning. No other injuries were reported.
Red Cross officials were assisting the five people displaced by the blaze.
"This is just devastating," Gildea said. "I feel terrible for the people involved."