Local News

Lightning to blame for Raleigh apartment fire

Posted May 23, 2011 5:46 a.m. EDT
Updated May 23, 2011 8:11 p.m. EDT

— Twenty-eight people were displaced from their homes early Monday after lightning struck a Raleigh apartment complex, city fire officials said.

The blaze started in an upstairs corner apartment around 3:30 a.m. and destroyed four apartments and damaged four others at The Landings of Mallard Pond at 416 Hensley Drive.

Approximately 70 firefighters were at the scene at the height of the blaze. There were no reports of injuries.

Investigators said apartment’s tenant, Boswell Williams, was at work and that with him not being home it might have delayed the response time to the fire, because residents weren’t immediately aware of it.

“I am just glad for the people downstairs who have children and multiple people living there,” he said. “They are the ones I was really concerned about. I am glad they made it out OK.”

Boswell and others are receiving help from the American Red Cross, and the apartment complex is working to help find them with a place to say.

Lucky that no one was hurt, victims say they now must rebuild their lives, and what that looks like is unclear.

Some, like Jorge Gonzales, who shares an apartment with several relatives, lost everything.

“I have nothing,” he said. “I have only this (the clothes he’s wearing.) It’s all that I have, right now.”

Boswell was able to recover a handful of items, including diplomas, legal papers, his birth certificate and some paintings.

Cecelia Mayers lost memories.

"I just lost my grandmother in January, so a lot of her personal belongings are now gone," she said. "(The fire is) just something else I have to get over."