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Students Picking Up Pieces After Raleigh Apartment Fire

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Eighteen people, most of them students at North Carolina State University, were looking for a new home Friday after a fire broke out at a Raleigh apartment complex.

The fire was reported at about 2:30 a.m. at the Ivy Chase apartments on

Thistledown Drive

. Police officers knocked on residents' doors in the early-morning hours, alerting them to the fire.

"I was pretty much asleep, so I jumped out of bed and got my Bible and laptop and I ran," resident Julia Roach said. "I could smell the smoke, and I could see the smoke in my apartment -- in my roommate's room -- and we just ran."

About 40 firefighters battled the fire for nearly two hours. Authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, but they said it apparently started on an upper-level balcony before spreading to the attic.

"There may have been electrical devices in place. There may have been smoking materials in the area," said Rusty Styons, a division chief for the Raleigh Fire Department.

The fire doesn't appear to be suspicious in nature, authorities said.

No one was injured in the fire, which destroyed six units, heavily damaged three more and left several people trying to pick up the pieces to their lives.

"As of right now, we don't have anything except our wallets and cell phones," fire victim Brooke Grindstaff said. "It's just unreal right now. I mean, I don't have any of my stuff. I don't have my laptop. I don't have memories from high school, from college. They're burned, so it's been hard."


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