No one was injured in a large fire at an apartment complex in west Raleigh on Wednesday afternoon.
The blaze, which started just before 2:20 p.m., destroyed or damaged 16 units in Building 22 of Enclave at Crossroads Apartments, Raleigh Police Capt. B.N. Limper said. The complex is near the Cary Crossroads shopping center.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but officials said it was accidental. Firefighters had the blaze under control in about an hour, according to a fire report.
No one was injured, officials said, but 23 residents were displaced. Red Cross volunteers arrived Wednesday and served residents pizza, water and soda.
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Jesse Vaughan, a 22-year-old student at N.C. State University, said he was in the shower in his second-floor apartment when he heard someone banging on the door.
“I thought someone had left a package,” he said. “I kept going on, got out and put my clothes on, and someone came to the door and yelled, ‘Fire!’”
Vaughan said he grabbed his dogs, a pug and a miniature Australian shepherd, and ran outside.
Anthony Torres, 25, said he was playing a video game when when he heard someone banging on the door of his first-floor apartment.
“I poked my head out the door, and it was a wall of smoke, Torres said as he sat on a curb about 30 yards from his apartment.
As he heard sirens approaching, Torres said, he started knocking on his neighbors’ doors to make sure no one else was in the building.
Torres said he works third shift as a grocery store manager, so he typically sleeps during the afternoon hours.
“Thank God I wasn’t (asleep), because I’m a heavy sleeper,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t have woke up.”
Torres said he didn’t know yet if his apartment was damaged. The firefighters, he said, told him “to hope for the best, expect the worst.”
Meanwhile, an EMS worker cradled two 9-year-old Chihuahuas — Janet and Eveline, who were wrapped in blankets to stay warm and calm until their human arrived from work. Tommie Flannery’s eyes swelled with tears as the EMS worker handed over her dogs.
“This right here is it,” Flannery said later, her voice full of emotion. “I lost everything but my two dogs.”