The victim, Roger Vanden Dorpel, 51, was found in an upstairs apartment.
Neighbors were concerned when they saw Dorpel's car in the parking lot, but he was not seen after the blaze.
The fire at the Brookstone Apartments started about 11 p.m. Tuesday and quickly spread, damaging or destroying eight units. It took firefighters about an hour to put out.
The apartment complex is located on Homestead Drive, just off Airport Road.
Eighteen residents were displaced by the fire. Most are staying with friends and family, while a few were placed in lodging by the Red Cross.
The apartment complex is also providing apartments to some of those who lost their homes.
Two people were treated at UNC Hospitals for minor burns.
Investigators say they are still searching the apartments for clues on how the fire may have started. They say the structural integrity of the building is hampering efforts to get to some parts of the building.
They say no sprinklers were found in the apartments. The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to assist in the investigation. andMichelle Singer