Flames Whipped by Wind in Raleigh

RALEIGH - Three alarms were struck Tuesday, March 23, for a structure fire on Armadale Lane, in a new subdivision located at the northeastern edge of the city.


The dispatched address was a two-story, wood-frame, vinyl-sided dwelling. Built in 2007, the 3,174 square-foot structure was one of seven closely spaced homes on a semicircular block.


The buildings were used as model homes.


Engine 28's crew found three houses on fire. Two were fully involved, and the third was partially involved.


The officer declared a major working fire, which resulted in the automatic dispatch of a second alarm. The size-up was limited due to heavy smoke and poor visibility.


The engine caught its own hydrant, and proceeded to the last house on the east side of block, the farthest exposure from the burning structures. Crews extended hand lines to the middle of the block to protect the first unburned exposure on their side.


Battalion 1 assumed command and began strategic placement of units for defensive operations. He requested a third alarm within minutes. Steady winds also spread flames which damaged or started fires at the other four houses on the block.


The last house on the east end suffered extensive damage in the rear of the structure from flames spreading on the ground.


Six deluge guns were operated either on apparatus or on the ground. Three aerial streams were deployedby personnel from Ladder 5, Ladder 2, and Ladder 1. Water pressure problems were encountered and two engines boosted pressure. Eight hydrants were utilized.



Additional hazards included multiple propane cylinders in one of the burning homes, and a gas leak in the original structure. The gas company used an excavator to expose and close the feeder line to the block.


Three homes were destroyed and a fourth heavily damaged. Three others were damaged, and all houses were rendered uninhabitable.


Fifteen adults and five children displaced. No injuries  were reported.

The fire was dispatched at 7:19 p.m., and controlled 9:42 p.m.


Apparatus from Raleigh and New Hope fire departments included 12 engines, 3 ladders, 4 rescues, plus 3 engines and 3 ladders for relief and fire watch.



Approximately 80 firefighters were on scene. Coverage at Raleigh and New Hope stations included Bay Leaf, Falls, Rolesville, and Wake Forest units.

The investigation started the following morning with investigators from the Raleigh Fire Department, Wake County Fire-Rescue, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives.