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Electrical Problem Cause Of Fire At Carrboro Apartment Building

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CARRBORO, N.C. — Investigators say the cause of a fire that displaced 15 families at a Carrboro apartment building Tuesday night was electrical.

The Carrboro Fire Department says the fire at building H of University Lake Apartments originated between the walls of two adjacent apartments.

Crews were called to building on Barnes Street at 8:21 p.m. after a 911 call from a resident who smelled smoke in their apartment.

When crews arrived, they noticed smoke in the apartment above, and within minutes, said flames were shooting from the roof at the eaves.

Firefighters inside the building, searching for the cause of the smoke, discovered fire in the back wall of the kitchen; a short time later fire broke through the roof.

By 8:35 p.m. firefighters were forced to fight the fire from outside the building.

"Once we knocked the fire down, the firefighters were able to go in with hard lines and extinguish the remaining fire," said Deputy Chief Iby George of the Carrboro Fire Department.

The fire was brought under control by 9:35 p.m., officials said.

The Carrboro Fire Department was assisted by the Chapel Hill and New Hope fire departments, while the Orange Grove Volunteer Fire Department provided backup for the Town of Carrboro.

According to investigators, all 20 units of the two-story building received heavy damage. Five units were vacant. The building was condemned Wednesday by Carrboro building officials.

The apartment complex management, Triangle Communities, paid for hotel rooms for displaced families Tuesday night and the American Red Cross had personnel at the scene to help residents.

Triangle Communities is working to provide more permanent accommodations to those who lost their homes.

Two minor injuries to firefighters were reported, including a firefighter who had a minor scratch after a pet bit him.

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