20 displaced by Raleigh condo fire; 2 firefighters injured
Posted August 6, 2014 3:00 a.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2014 5:17 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Twenty people were displaced from their homes early Wednesday after fire damaged multiple units of a three-story condominium building in the 1300 block of Park Glen Drive in east Raleigh.
Emergency crews responded to the scene, which is off Raleigh Road, shortly after 2 a.m.
Two firefighters were taken to a local hospital following the blaze with minor injuries. One firefighter suffered a neck and back injury, officials said.
According to investigators, the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking material.
"When we arrived there was heavy fire coming through the roof and it was on the front deck," Raleigh Fire Department Battalion Chief David Whitley said. "Crews went in and did a primary search. No occupants were found, it was clear."
No people inside the units were injured, and all of the residents were out of the building by the time Raleigh fire crews arrived.
Twelve units were damaged, and it took more than 30 firefighters about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control.
Tyrique Williams, 15, said he was watching TV in the bedroom of his first-floor condominium when he saw flames.
"I looked out the window and I saw flames up and down my window," he said. "I went outside, called the police and started banging on everybody's door."
Whitley said there were a number of smoke detectors going off when firefighters arrived.
"That probably saved some lives," he said.
Dominique Burnette said someone woke her up by pounding on her front door.
"It's scary hearing that loud knock at that time of the night. My heart dropped," she said. "Once I opened the door and heard fire I just got my family and got out. I started recording the flames and things falling off the building. It was scary seeing that. You see it all the time on the news, but you never think it will happen to you."
No other information about the fire was immediately available. Red Cross officials were assisting those who were displaced by the blaze.
Several residents were allowed back into their units after the blaze was extinguished to gather personal belongings.
Burnette said she got as much as she could for her son.
"For one, I had to get my son's pacifier," she said. "I got some shorts, clothes and things for my son when we go to the hotel."