Downtown Raleigh block reopens nearly one year after devastating apartment fire

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Monday, January 22, 2018
Harrington Street reopens in downtown Raleigh
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Harrington Street reopens in downtown Raleigh after the massive fire.

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- A block of North Harrington Street in downtown Raleigh, that was closed after a raging fire broke out at an apartment building, will reopen Monday nearly a year after the catastrophe.

The Metropolitan fire broke out last March and caused almost $50 million worth of damage.

READ MORE: Monstrous fire destroys apartment building in downtown Raleigh

A section of Harrington Street, between Jones and Lane streets, will be reopened after crews closed it during cleanup efforts.

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Couple watches as downtown Raleigh fire engulfs building
ABC11 Photographer/Adolfo Ibarra

"It's been brutal. We completely had to pivot on our business model," said Little City Brewing owner Jon Seel of business since the fire. "Three-quarters of the neighborhood was displayed and all the streets were shut down."

Seel hopes reopening the roads will increase sales.

"This should help and I'm excited about it. I feel like it would have been great if we could have done sooner," he said. "I think everything helps, right? When one lane opened up we saw a little more traffic as opposed to zero."

The fire started just before 10 p.m. on March 17 and was under control by 1 a.m. with crews still spraying the burnt structure with water to extinguish any hot spots.

RELATED: More coverage of downtown Raleigh fire

The cause of the fire was undetermined; however, investigators did find fuel accelerant but said that's not unusual for a construction site.

Officials said the fire could have been an electrical malfunction, intentionally set, or accidentally started by a squatter trying to keep warm that cold night.

READ MORE: Cause of monstrous downtown Raleigh fire undetermined

On Tuesday, the 500 block of North Harrington Street will be closed permanently to allow for the groundbreaking on an 11-story mixed-use development.