Displaced Residents Return to Gather Belongings Following Massive Fire in Downtown Raleigh
RALEIGH -- Raleigh is still recovering after the massive structure fire that destroyed an under construction apartment complex Thursday night.
On Saturday, residents of the building next door returned for the first time since the fire.
The streets around the scene of the fire are still blocked off Saturday, but vans from the city of Raleigh have been coming in and out of the restricted zone all day.
Those vans are carrying residents of the Quorum Center, who were evacuated from the building when the fire started. Residents are being bussed from the Municipal Center and back so they can go to their apartments and get their belongings.
The building is still evacuated and residents are still living in temporary housing for the time being.
Thursday night's massive downtown fire in Raleigh is the largest the city has seen since the 1920s, officials said during a news conference on Friday morning.
According to Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath, the department received the first fire alarm at 10:03 on Thursday night at 314 W. Jones St., near the 400 block of West North Street.
The apartment building that caught fire was under construction and set to open later this year as The Metropolitan. McGrath said the building had last been inspected on Monday and that it was completely complaint with permit regulations.
Around 100 Raleigh firefighters helped control and extinguish the inferno.
McGrath said, overall, five people were treated for smoke inhalation and only one person, a firefighter, sustained minor injuries. No one was injured.
"[I am] extremely grateful we only had one minor injury...it could have been a lot worse," said McGrath.
The fire was brought under control around 1:10 a.m., but crews remained on scene extinguishing hot spots. McGrath said it would be 12-15 more hours of putting water on the building before it can be safely assessed.
McGrath said several other buildings were damaged due to the radiating heat. They are being assessed for structural integrity. The nearby Quorum Center building in Raleigh was deemed safe Friday morning.
The Church of Good Shepherd at 125 Hillsborough Street as well as the First Baptist Church have opened their doors as a shelter to those evacuated because of the fire. The Red Cross is also mobilizing volunteers to provide help to those displaced.
A call center is also open for those affected. That number is 919-996-2999.
Investigators are working to determine what sparked the blaze.
Firefighters cleaning up in the early morning hours on Friday: