Twenty-four people were left without a place to stay after fire burned their townhouse building at 2605 New Hope Church Road in Raleigh on Monday evening, dispatch officials said.
Investigators said the fire was caused by faulty wiring in the wall in the unit where Irma Pena lived with her two children and grandchild.
The fire began just after 9 p.m. and spread through six units.
Aisha Clark said she opened up the back door of her townhouse and saw flames approaching. “I just grabbed the kids, grabbed everyone, and ran out of the house,” she said.
Clark said the people in Pena's home scrambled to warn their neighbors about the blaze.
“They were knocking on doors letting everyone know to get away, get away because it’s on fire,” she said.
Seventy firefighters extinguished the blaze which destroyed two units. Two other units sustained fire damage and two suffered smoke damage.
No residents were injured, but one firefighter was treated at a nearby hospital for heat exhaustion, fire officials said.
The Red Cross was helping the displaced families find temporary housing.
Malika Gooden lived in one of the townhouses with her sons, aged 2 and 8. They escaped safely, but lost their belongings.
“Everything is just gone,” Gooden said.
In the fire, Pena lost medical information for her 25-year-old son, who suffers from kidney failure.
"She's kind of devastated right now because important papers to try to help her son get a kidney transplant burned down," family member Isidro Trejo said.
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