Fire investigators seek cause of Raleigh blaze
Posted March 24, 2010 11:53 a.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2010 7:23 p.m. EDT
Wake Forest, N.C. — Fire investigators continued to search Wednesday for the cause of a blaze that destroyed three Raleigh homes and damaged four others Tuesday evening.
Eleven people were displaced after flames tore through the homes, two of which were unoccupied, in the 200 block of Armadale Lane, in the Highland Creek subdivision around 7:15 p.m. There were no reported injuries.
Witnesses said the houses caught fire like matchboxes as the fire jumped from one to the other. Gusty winds and the close proximity of the homes were factors in the rapid spread of the fire, authorities said.
Raleigh fire Capt. Tim Wilson said a preliminary investigation shows that the fire likely started in the grass around two houses. Foul play is not suspected.
Meanwhile Wednesday, victims of the fire – now staying with relatives or friends and receiving help from the American Red Cross – sifted through ashes looking for anything they could salvage. Six of the houses are uninhabitable.
Judy Barillari was out of town on business when the fire destroyed her home.
"I start thinking about little things – especially my grandchildren's pictures, my daughter's wedding – that's the stuff I'm going to miss," she said. "It's just stuff, and people have worse, worse things happen. This can be fixed."
The DeGuzman family lost part of their home.
Michael DuGuzman said he, his wife and their 4-year-old son were eating dinner when they saw smoke going by their back door.
"As soon as she opens the back door, she started screaming because the fire was on the ground already," he said. "So, I started calling 911."
Within minutes of being outside, their house caught fire. They had been in the home for three months.
"It puts everything into perspective. I'm glad my family is safe," he said.