Local News

A year after fire, Quorum residents count blessings, wait to return

Posted March 16, 2018 6:17 p.m. EDT
Updated March 16, 2018 6:58 p.m. EDT

— When the biggest fire in 90 years lit the Raleigh skyline a year ago, residents of nearby condominiums and apartments fled their homes, grabbing only what they could carry.

Eleven buildings were damaged, leaving hundreds of people in temporary housing. A year later, Sherri Henderson is among those still waiting to return home.

"We could see the flames right straight out of our window," she said.

Henderson lived on the ninth floor of the Quorum Center, at 323 W. Jones St. With her husband, David, and dog, Gracie, Henderson was able to escape unhurt.

They had no time to plan what would come next. "I was so unprepared for going and so unprepared for what we were about to go through," she said.

It would be days before they could survey the damage that heat, smoke and water did to their home. The flames burned so hot that the glass windows in the Quorum burst, and the sprinklers went off.

"Anything upholstered we lost because there were cinders that came into the condo from the fire," Henderson said.

The family is living in an apartment while they wait for their condominium to be repaired, a process that could take until the end of the year.

The fire started at the construction site of the Metropolitan Apartments on the evening of March 16, 2017. It burned through the night, toppling a construction crane and shooting flames 200 feet in the air. The Quorum and nearby Link Apartments sustained extensive damage.

Residents of the Link recently returned to repaired and renovated apartments. Henderson is still waiting for that day.

"I miss my neighbors. I miss the community I had there," she said.

Instead of frustration, she prefers to focus on the positive. Although her family and others have been inconvenienced, no one was killed or seriously injured in the fire.

The cause of the fire has never been determined.