Massive 5-alarm fire in downtown Raleigh damages 10 buildings, 5 severely

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Firefighters battled a five-alarm fire in downtown Raleigh on Thursday night for more than three hours.

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The fire was first reported shortly after 10 p.m. and was under control by 1:10 a.m., officials said.

The biggest concern at this point is rekindling, officials said. Three buildings were cleared by Friday morning.

Fire officials told CBS North Carolina the fire started in an apartment building under construction at 400 W North St.

Officials said the fire started on the third floor of the building and spread quickly because it was a wood construction and had many flammable construction materials inside.

The main building involved in the fire spread to four other buildings, according to Raleigh fire officials. Overall, 10 buildings were damaged – five severely, said Raleigh Fire Division Chief John Fanning.

Around 130 firefighters battled the flames with crews working in 90 minute shifts. In addition to the firefighters, 25 apparatus helped work the fire. Fanning said it was one of the worst fires he’s seen.

One first responder suffered a puncture wound due to falling glass but his injuries are non-life threatening and he should be released from the hospital soon, Fanning said.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Capital Boulevard southbound from Wade Avenue to Peace Street, Hillsborough Street in both directions from Morgan Street to Dawson Street, and Glenwood Avenue in both directions between Wade Avenue and Morgan Street are all closed this morning.

The Red Cross mobilized volunteers to assist those who were displaced by the fire. A local church also opened as a shelter downtown.

Fanning advised that people stay away from downtown Raleigh, if possible. At the very least, people should avoid the area of the fire. Smoke will most likely hang around downtown for at least another day.

An investigation into the fire hasn’t begun yet, Fanning said. Investigators are expected to arrive at the site and begin working around lunchtime.

*WNCN contributed to this post.

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