Fire damages eight Raleigh condos
Posted April 1, 2011 9:51 a.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2011 5:10 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A large fire caused the attic of a condominium building in Raleigh to collapse Friday morning, damaging the homes of 15 people.
Raleigh firefighters said they were called to the fire at Martinique Condos, at 4505 Edwards Mill Road, at 9:19 a.m. Winds helped the fire spread, but crews brought it under control quickly.
One elderly person had to be helped from the building, and firefighters also rescued several cats and dogs. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters said the blaze started in an upstairs unit and moved into the attic. A firewall prevented the blaze from crossing into the other half of the 16-unit building.
Bonnie Hankel said she rushed to the scene after receiving a chilling call from her 89-year-old sister.
“She and her daughter live there, and she said, ‘The building’s on fire,’” Hankel said.
The attic collapsed into two condos, and six others sustained smoke and water damage.
Hankel credits firefighters for helping her family to safety. She said the back wall of her sister's apartment is gone.
The building had smoke alarms but no sprinklers, firefighters said.
Joseph Havrern, who lives across the street, said he was awakened by his dog barking and smoke alarms going off.
"The flames were well above the trees when I got out here. There were only a few trucks at that point. It was definitely not a small fire by any means," Havrern said.
The cause of the fire was determined to be improperly discarded smoking material, fire officials said. Firefighters said no one was at home in the condo where the fire started.
The Red Cross is helping the displaced people find homes.
This is the second major fire at an apartment or condominium complex in Raleigh this week.
On Wednesday, firefighters battled a blaze for an hour at Cedar Springs Apartments on Spring Forest Road. The fire started in the attic of a 12-unit building and caused the roof to collapse.