Displaced residents assess damage after Raleigh fire

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The downtown Raleigh fire damaged nearby apartments (WTVD)

Federal authorities are now on the ground investigating Thursday's ferocious fire in Downtown Raleigh.

The ATF has a mobile command unit stationed along Jones Street and ABC11 is being told agents from across the country are converging on the Capitol City to work the case.

We're told the ATF is helping with the investigation because of the size the scene.

A source close to the investigation tells ABC11 firefighters were interviewed Saturday and Sunday, residents who called 911 will be interviewed.

Meanwhile, residents temporarily displaced from two downtown Raleigh apartment complexes due to the massive fire will have a second chance to retrieve their belongings Sunday.

People who live in the Link Apartments and The Residences at Quorum Center can report to the Raleigh Municipal Building at 222 W. Hargett Street at 8 a.m. Sunday to take a bus to the apartments. The shuttles will run until 3 p.m.

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Residents displaced by the Raleigh fire were allowed home Sunday to gather belongings

READ MORE: The search for answers continues after monstrous downtown Raleigh fire

Anyone needing to get into the building after 1 p.m. is asked to call the City of Raleigh's Non-Emergency Call Center at (919) 996-2999 to make arrangements. Residents of the two apartment complexes are asked not to drive directly to the damaged buildings but to park at the Municipal Building and use the bus shuttle.

Firefighters escorted some affected residents into their apartments to collect their things on Saturday. After seeing the destruction inside their apartments, some are now unsure when they will be able to return.

"There's glass everywhere and everything smells like smoke," said Jonathan Smith, who was helping his parents gather their things from their 12th-floor apartment at the Quorum. "All we have heard is six months to a year, maybe longer than that."


The displaced residents were only allowed to retrieve the necessities: clothes, toiletries, and medications.

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Residents of apartments near the Raleigh fire are allowed to return briefly Saturday

Glass, debris, and water on the sidewalks and inside apartments made the buildings less accessible, so people were asked to wear protective clothing and eyewear.

"I think everyone is just happy that everyone is safe," said Link resident David Meyer.

It's the largest fire the city has seen since the 1920s.

The ATF estimates the total loss of the multi-level building is more than $12 million.

The 5-alarm fire was first reported around 10 p.m. Thursday night at the Metropolitan apartment complex construction site located at 314 W. Jones Street and was battled by more than 100 firefighters. The site was once the location of the Raleigh Trailways bus station.

The wooden building burned so quickly that there was little firefighters could do but try to keep it from spreading to neighboring buildings.

Detours are still in place for closures at West Street from Edenton to North streets, Harrington Street from Edenton to North streets, Jones Street from Glenwood Avenue to Dawson Street, and Lane Street from Harrington to Dawson streets.

Police are hoping to open West Street on Sunday, but ultimately the fire department will have to decide if that's possible.
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