Fatal Fire At Raleigh Apartment Complex Ruled As Accidental
Posted July 15, 2002 2:28 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Authorities said the cause of an apartment fire in Raleigh that left one person dead appears to be accidental.
The fire broke out around 11 a.m. Friday at the Lexington Farm Apartments off Edwards Mill Road. A paving crew from Charlotte, which was working on the tennis courts at the apartment complex, saw the fire and ran to the scene.
When they got there, they saw an elderly couple in wheelchairs trying to get out. The workers were able to go in and rescue 98-year-old Arvid Jurevics.
"He was on the porch and there was smoke, so I just pulled him on out. When I talked to him, he said his wife was still in there," worker Henry Smith said.
However, when the workers tried to go back in the apartment, they were unable to go back and rescue his 88-year-old wife, Lucia.
"I kicked the door to go in there and see if I could get her, but by that time, the flames came back and blazed me in the face," worker Steve Lawrence said.
The elderly man, believed to be in his early 90s, was taken to Rex Hospital for smoke inhalation. Authorities said he was able to press a life-alert button to signal emergency personnel. They also said the man was able to call his granddaughter, who lives about a mile away.
Investigators said the fire started in the kitchen while Lucia was cooking. They said either her sleeve or a dish towel caught on fire.