Residents Safe After Raleigh Apartment Fire
Posted January 30, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Residents of a Raleigh apartment complex made it out safely after fire broke out in their complex about noon Sunday.
A mother and her 2-year-old son, who lived closest to the source of the fire, both got out safely, as did the other residents.
In all, six families were forced out of their homes in the Timberlake Apartments on Lake Woodard Drive by the fire. Residents say they're just lucky that no one was seriously injured because a smoke detector didn't warn them they were in danger.
Firefighters had to tear out chunks of the wall to get to the source of the fire. They believe it started in the attic above a third-floor apartment.
"At this time, it seems to have started in the attic area, where the heating unit was. It could be electric in origin. It's still under investigation," said District Fire Chief Jackie Weathersby.
Smokyia Bright, a Timberlake resident, told WRAL-TV5 what he had heard of the fire's first moments.
"She went in her house and flipped the light switch in the bathroom. And she heard popping up on the roof. And then she saw all of a sudden the whole ceiling turned black and there was a fire. So she ran out and grabbed her child."
The next-door neighbor smelled the smoke from his own apartment, and ran inside to help.
"I could hear crackling and popping in her bedroom, in the ceiling," Scott Hester recounted. "I said, 'Ma'am, the fire is in there, so get out.' I went banging on all the doors and said, 'We've got a fire, a major fire."
Smoke was pouring into the woman's apartment, but she told neighbors her smoke detector never went off.
Pearlie Miller lives below the burned apartment, and says she didn't hear an alarm.
"We shouldn't have to have somebody going around, knocking on your door to let you know there's a fire. We've got detectors in the house that should let us know when there's a fire, and it did not go off."
The management at Timberlake says all of their smoke detectors are in working order.
They are trying to make temporary arrangements for the residents who can't return to their apartments.