Local News

Massive fire rips through Raleigh warehouse

Posted September 21, 2008 6:02 p.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2008 10:57 a.m. EDT

— Firefighters spent hours battling a  massive blaze that ripped through a warehouse near Lake Wheeler Road and South Saunders Street Sunday night.

Fire investigators combed the wreckage of the Hunter and Co. Painterswork, 1022 Hammell Drive, on Monday morning. They determined that the cause of the fire was not suspicious and continued to search for the cause of the fire, officials said.

The fire at  started at about 5:45 p.m. and quickly got out of control. Nearby residents said the flames could be seen for miles.

The intense flames kept firefighters from searching the building when they arrived, Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath said.

“The fire had too much headway. Companies immediately went to defensive operations,” McGrath said.

The building, however, was home not just to several businesses but also two men, including Karen Truelove's boyfriend.

"I panicked. I was upset, nervous. I didn't know exactly where he was,” Karen Truelove said.

Truelove said her boyfriend and another man, who live in a room beside one of the shops where they work, were not home when the fire started.

"This is a manufacturing-type place. I wouldn't suspect that people live here,” said McGrath, adding that he was not aware anyone lived inside the steel building.

No one was injured, and firefighters saved half of the building, but the half where Truelove said her boyfriend lived and worked was a total loss.

Several businesses operate out of the building, including a few woodworking shops.

Firefighters were challenged to get water to the scene, because the building is set back from the road. Firefighters ran water lines from hydrants up to 1,500 feet away, McGrath said.

Crews remained on the scene Monday morning, having monitored for hot spots throughout the night.

McGrath said investigators will also look to see if the fact that men lived in the building violated any fire codes.