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Investigation into downtown Raleigh fire continues 4 weeks later

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Investigation into downtown Raleigh apartment building fire continues 4 weeks later (WTVD)

It's been four weeks since one of the largest fires in Raleigh's history destroyed an apartment complex that was under construction in downtown.

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Crews are still in the process of cleaning up. Some roads in the area remain closed and questions have yet to be answered.

On Thursday, March 16th, the huge five-alarm fire destroyed the six-to-seven-story Metropolitan apartment building shortly before 10 p.m. at 314 W. Jones St.

RELATED: Monstrous fire destroys apartment building in downtown Raleigh

Officials have said investigations into the cause of the blaze could take several weeks to conclude. It is still unclear if the fire was accidental or arson.

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Firefighters battle the blaze

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wrapped up their portion of the investigation a couple of weeks ago, but it is unknown when other investigations will be complete.

ABC11 did receive an email from someone close to the investigations who said the streets and the site will remain closed indefinitely as clean up and the investigations continue.

The monstrous fire forced the evacuation of nearby businesses and residential buildings.

"It was massive. It looked like the entire block was one fire," a downtown business owner and resident named Patrick told ABC11's Angelica Alvarez.

Eyewitnesses said it appeared the fire ignited on the second floor, though police and fire officials have not yet made such a determination.

No one was living in the building, but there were numerous buildings nearby, including other residential apartment units.

The Metropolitan apartment complex, seen under construction before the fire.

A crane used at the construction site collapsed minutes after firefighters arrived.

The wood construction of the Metropolitan apartment complex made fighting the blaze challenging.

"They immediately tried to put water on it but as they approached they noticed it was a lot of heavy fire," Raleigh Fire Department Assistant Chief Brad Harvey said. "Especially under construction. The wood is not protected and the fire moves very rapidly. We're very fortunate tonight."

Eyewitnesses told ABC11 it took only a few minutes for the fire to develop into a massive blaze that engulfed the building.

"I heard a bunch of sirens," one woman who lives nearby told ABC11's Joel Brown. "I looked around me and everything was orange."

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Video courtesy Cindy Golden

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Courtesy: Mike Golden

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