Grill Sparks Four-Alarm N.C. Apartment Fire


A grill on a third-floor balcony started an apartment fire that injured four people in uptown Charlotte, fire investigators said.

Firefighters were called to the First Ward Place Apartments on North Davidson Street around 4 a.m. Several uptown streets were shut down as more than 80 firefighters battled the flames. Firefighters got the fire under control shortly before 6 a.m.

Fire investigators said a grill on a third-floor balcony sparked the large fire. Capt. Mark Basnight with the Charlotte Fire Department said there is an ordinance in place that prohibits residents in apartment complexes from using grills.

Ashlyn Berry said she and her boyfriend were grilling away from the building, like they’re supposed to, and thought the coals had cooled off enough to put the grill back on the balcony.

But the coals were still hot and later reignited, sparking the fire.

Berry said her 1-year-old son saved their lives. If he hadn't started crying, she said, they probably would have slept through the fire and never escaped. Instead, Berry, her boyfriend, her 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son survived with minor injuries.

“I'm just happy I have my life, you know,” Berry said. “I have me and my children. (We) have our lives, that's the main important part of it all.”

The fire caused between $500,000 and $1 million in damage, fire officials said. It was ruled an accident and no one will face charges.

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