Local News

Officials: Cause of Downtown Raleigh Fire Undetermined

Posted November 10, 2007 1:34 p.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2007 2:33 p.m. EST

— Investigators said the extent of damage prevented them from officially determining what started a fire in downtown Raleigh, but they suspect it might have been sparked by improperly discarded smoking material.

Initial calls about a fire in the 1400 block of South Blount Street  came from the Cargill, Inc. plant shortly before 7:15 p.m. But when firefighters arrived, they discovered the fire was across the street at S&H Trailer Rental.

Early reports suggested that suspicious activity in the area might have led to the fire, but Capt. Tim Duke, a Raleigh fire investigator, said damage prevented investigators from being able to issue an official cause.

Duke said that investigators suspect the fire started in a mobile home being used for storage. Homeless people had been sleeping in the mobile home, which did not have electric service, he said.

Improperly discarded smoking material might have started the fire, but Duke stressed that the finding is only speculation.

Investigators stayed overnight and through Saturday morning to sift through evidence

Two mobile homes and a car caught fire at S&H Trailer Rental. Around 50 firefighters required an hour and 15 minutes to put out the fire.

Officials said the layout of the S&H Trailer Rental hampered firefighting efforts. Firefighters had to use a ladder truck, because it was the only way to get close enough to put out the flames.

Raleigh Fire Department Division Chief Rusty Styons said they look into whether there were any fire-code violations at S&H Trailer Rentals.