By Caitlin Richards
In downtown Raleigh Thursday night, a fire started at an unfinished apartment complex on W. North Street. No one was killed or had life-threatening injuries. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Around 10 p.m. Thursday, the Raleigh fire and police departments responded to a call about a fire at the 400 block of W. North St. The fire was under control and got put out during the night. Even though the fire happened downtown, it could be seen from miles away.
William Peace University freshman Brianna Owens said that she could see the fire from her dorm.
“I saw the fire around 10:20 p.m. when it was at its highest point,” Owens said. “I was standing on the balcony of the second floor of Finely. The sky was filled with smoke and there were sparks all throughout the smoke that made it look glittery and the sky was a really bright orange.”
“The flames were so high that they had to be at least twice as tall as the building itself. I could hear the flames and crackling too. There were a lot of people running across campus to see the fire.”
This was the biggest downtown fire since the 1920s, according to the City of Raleigh. Some Raleigh residents described seeing the flames in downtown as surreal. It was stated that as many as 230 customers lost power in nearby buildings and about 10 buildings were damaged by the fire.
Freshmen at Peace, Mackenzie Braden, also saw the fire last night and has video of it. Here is the link to her video of the fire: https://www.facebook.com/mbraden33/posts/1599228833425328
“I’ve never experienced something like this so close to home, it’s so frightening,” Braden said.
Friday morning commutes took longer than usual since roads were closed and certain traffic lights were out due to the fire. Officers were working hard directing traffic at intersections to make the morning commute easier.
Residents in the surrounding area were evacuated Thursday night and some of the residents are without a place to stay, which has led to businesses and organizations opening their doors to those needing a place to go to. Red Cross is helping with those who are dealing with the aftermath and are asking for anyone who wants to help, please donate.
For more information, visit www.raleighnc.gov.
“I want to thank Raleigh’s first responders for the heroic efforts in protecting the public during last night’s destructive fire,” said Mayor Nancy McFarlane in a statement. “I am grateful that no serious injuries have been reported as this could have been a significantly more tragic event.”
McFarlane continued stating her appreciation to first responders, firefighters, police officers and county partners that supported the emergency response. She also thanked the community organizations and businesses that have helped residents displaced by the fire.
“Please join me in keeping the first responders and impacted residents in your thoughts and prayers as our community recovers from this devastating fire,” McFarlane said.
Crews continued to work to keep the flames from reigniting over the weekend and the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.