Children Jump to Safety During Raleigh Townhouse Fire
Posted February 15, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — A fire, apparently sparked by a smoldering pot on a stove, nearly turned to tragedy Sunday for a Raleigh family. But leaps of faith by three children trapped on the second-floor of the home saved their lives.
The fire occurred early Sunday morning in a townhouse off Melvid Court in Raleigh. Cynthia Middleton was on the ground floor with her toddler. But two of her other children, 7-year-old Ciara, 10-year-old James, and a friend, were trapped upstairs. Somehow they all got out of the home safely.
"The fire was on the first floor we had one adult and four children in the unit," said Batallion Chief D.L. Perry of the Raleigh Fire Department. "My understanding is three of them jumped from a second-story window."
The only one hurt in the fire was Middleton's son James. He hurt his leg jumping out of the second-story window and is in stable condition at Wake Medical Center.
"He's supposed to have surgery later on tonight or Tuesday on his hip," said neighbor Gemini Saunders. "I think they said his bone was broken."
In the light of day it became even more apparent how destructive this fire was. Nearly anywhere you look around you can find some kind of household item that's damaged or burned.
"The living room looked OK, more or less like smoke damage. And when I went down the hallway in the kitchen everything was just gone, demolished," said neighbor Janice Taylor.
With Middleton's home in such bad shape, the Red Cross has found her family a temporary place to stay.
The fire did not spread to adjacent apartments, but there was minor smoke and water damage in other units.