Local News

Families lose belongings in Raleigh apartment fire

Posted March 5, 2010 4:48 p.m. EST
Updated March 5, 2010 11:32 p.m. EST

— Fire destroyed an apartment building in northeast Raleigh Friday afternoon. All 19 people who lived in the building are safe, but they are dealing with the loss of everything they owned.

"My husband just bought everything new. Now we don't have nothing," Okesana Melnyk said.

The blaze raged through the building, at 4903 Arcadian Court, just after 3 p.m. Eight units – one of them unoccupied – were destroyed.

JaRhonda Cox-Bell got the call while she was still at work. "It didn't hit me until I was halfway here and then I saw the fire department and police. That's when I knew," she said.

Rusty Styons, battalion chief for the Raleigh Fire Department, said the fire started by accident. A tenant cleaned a fireplace and put the ashes in a container on the back deck, he said. The wind spread some still-smoldering ashes which ignited the fire. 

Cox-Bell and her husband have renters' insurance to replace what they lost.

"It's materialistic things. We can replace all that stuff," she said. "We're lucky that we're alive."

For others who did not have insurance, the Red Cross and apartment managers stepped in to help with a place to stay, clothing and other assistance.