Local News

Raleigh Apartment Fire Ruled Accidental

Posted July 14, 2004 4:25 a.m. EDT

— Investigators have ruled a fire at a Raleigh apartment complex Wednesday morning as accidental.

Fire gutted the third floor of a building at Brentwood West Apartments, leaving 43 people homeless.

"I was asleep and I heard a loud commotion outside. I woke up and told my wife to wake up, grab the kids and let's go because there's a fire," resident Marquis Knowles said.

The roof of the building at 3817 Brentwood Rd. was fully involved when crews arrived around 1:30 a.m., forcing them to fight the fire from the outside.

Apartments on the first and second floors suffered heavy water and smoke damage.

Officials say 11 units were damaged. No one was injured.

Investigators have not determined the cause, and no criminal charges will be filed.

Some people lost everything in the fire; many said they do not have renters insurance.

"I had five rooms full of furniture that was paid for. All of that is gone -- all of our pictures and memories," resident Tonya Binns said.

Many residents, like Mohamed Kanu, are anxiously waiting to see if any of their belongings can be salvaged. Firefighters say the earliest residents will be able to check their apartments is Wednesday evening.

The apartment complex is making temporary accommodations for those who were displaced.

The Triangle chapter of the American Red Cross was on hand to assist fire victims with emergency needs such as food, new clothing and comfort kits with toiletries.

"We provided fire victims with vouchers for food and clothing because they had to rush out of their burning apartments with only the clothes they were wearing," stated Glen Studinger, Red Cross disaster director. "We were pleased the apartment complex was able to relocate the families, but with most having no insurance, the Red Cross helped them purchase medications, new beds, linens, dinette sets and pots and pans. We hope in some small way we could comfort them and help them begin their recovery as they realize their tremendous losses due to this tragic fire."

Throughout the night, volunteers also provided refreshments at the scene to victims and firefighters.

Anyone wishing to help the fire victims can sent contributions to: American Red Cross, Triangle Area Chapter, 100 N. Peartree Lane, Raleigh, N.C. 27610. Credit card contributions can be made


or by calling (919) 231-1602.


Gloria Lopez


John Cox