Fire damages eight Raleigh condos

April 1, 2011 2:30:21 PM PDT
Firefighters were called to a 'major' working fire in Raleigh Friday morning. The fire started around 9:20 a.m. on the top floor of the two-story building at 4505 Edwards Mill Road at the Martinique Condominiums. According to fire officials, "improperly discarded smoking material" is to blame.

"The fire was located in the back corner, it had already transferred into the wall into an attic space," Raleigh Assistant Fire Chief Frank Warner said. "There's fire, water and smoke damage in the two apartments on the upper level and there's smoke and water damage to all eight units on this side of the fire wall."

Firefighters were forced to evacuate all the residents in the building, including at least one elderly woman who had to be helped out.

"She was assisted out ... but she was doing okay after all which was certainly good," said Jeffrey Hammerstein District Chief at Wake County EMS.

Officials say other than that, there were no injuries or incidents requiring EMS attention. They also say there are no known pet fatalities.

"There were multiple cats and dogs in the structure," Warner said. "We removed a lot of them with the assistance of RPD and Wake County EMS."

Resident Richard Kelley says he ran toward the fire scene, because he left his dogs inside his condo when he went to work earlier in the morning.

"I just had to get them," he said. "I couldn't stand the thought of them ... actually a member of the homeowners association had called and let me know that they had gotten them out. They were nervous and understandably scared. But I think they're going to be ok now."

Kelley's condo was the one attached to the main unit that caught fire.

"I just got the text message at work and had to run out," he said. "Our address is 4507 and I knew it was 4505. Actually it was on the news pretty quickly, so luckily I could get confirmation quickly."

The fire not only caused a scare for residents, but frustrated nearby drivers. Due to the fire, all lanes of traffic were closed near Crabtree Valley Avenue.

"I was coming on US 70 and I wanted to turn and they blocked us off, so then I turned by Crabtree and went the back way and the back roads and they blocked me off," driver Ethel Alston said. "Then I went down here and I was still blocked off, so it's been 30 minutes trying to get to work today."

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