Forty Firefighters Knock Down North Carolina Apartment Blaze

Pineville, NC -- On March 25, 2004, just south of Charlotte, N.C., the first of many calls into 911 communications came in around 9:30 AM from a non-English speaking person.

EMS and Police were on the first dispatch; however, this was quickly upgraded to a structure fire response after more information was received. The Pineville Volunteer Fire Department was first on the scene and reported that fire had all ready reached the attic and roof.

Upon his arrival, Pineville Fire Chief Billy Griffin established Incident Command and requested a full box alarm assignment from the Charlotte Fire Department. The Carolina Volunteer Fire Department had also arrived and this incident quickly went to a second alarm, bringing over forty firefighters.

The major part of the fire was contained in about an hour with numerous handlines, a deck gun, and one ladder pipe in service.

Pineville firefighters with Engine #3 hooked up to a private hydrant on site but the water pressure was inadequate to suppress the massive fire conditions. "There was so much fire, it did not matter if the first hydrant was working OK", said Pineville Fire Chief Billy Griffin, "it was going to be a challenge." Charlotte Fire Engine #16 caught a city hydrant off site and supplied the needed water to the trucks to finally contain the blaze.

There were no injuries reported. The American Red Cross arrived to help with numerous people displaced and also to support the needs of the firefighters working throughout the day.

Damages estimates by fire officials were put at approximately $400,000 with ten units suffering fire, smoke, and water damage. Some additional apartments were temporally evacuated since the utilities were controlled to keep the whole building safe.

The Mecklenburg County Fire Marshal's Office is the lead investigating agency and reports that the fire started in the rear area of this 3-story apartment building. The cause remains under investigation.

Assisting Operations: Pineville FD-Engine 3,2 Squad 8, Car 13, Carolina FD-Engine 3,4. Charlotte Fire Dept- Engine- 16,32,24, Ladder-16 B/C's 4, 5, PIO, and Support Staff.