Photo Story: Flames Tear Through N.C. Apartments

Two alarms were struck in northwest Raleigh early in the evening on Aug. 24 at 5024 Manor Valley Court. The Raleigh Fire Department was dispatched to a three-story, wood-frame apartment building with 32,412 square feet at 6:37 p.m. Due to multiple callers reporting a fire, a working fire assignment was dispatched two minutes later, while the first-alarm companies were still enroute.

Engine 17 was first on scene, with heavy fire showing from the third floor and roof of the left side (Division B) of the structure. They arrived at 6:42 p.m. Two minutes later, Battalion 4 requested a second alarm. Crews began searching the building and evacuating the residents, while also starting an interior attack.

Collapse conditions were soon observed, and evacuation orders were given at 6:54 p.m. Air horns were sounded and radios transmitted the message. Crews were withdrawn from the building. Fire was traveling the entirely length of the roof line.

Defensive operations were started. They included three aerial streams from Ladder 1 (A/B corner), Ladder 2 (C/D corner), and Ladder 3 (B/C corner), a deluge gun on Engine 17 (A/B corner), and a number of portable personal monitors and hand lines.

At least three hydrants were utilized, with Engine 16 supplying Ladder 3, Engine 23 supplying Engine 17, and Engine 18 supplying Ladder 2. Command (by Battalion 4, then by Car 20) and medical monitoring/rehab was located on Summit Manor Lane, above the building.

Staging was located on Grove Barton Road, with some apparatus parked on Doie Cope Road. Two additional engines were also special called.

The fire was declared under control at 8:00 p.m. Two firefighters were transported with elevated heart rates due to exertion. No residents were injured. Thirty-some apartments were damaged. Crews stayed on scene all night, and overhaul continued into Sunday morning. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

First alarm: E17, E23, E16, E18, L3, L1, Sq14, R1, B4, B5, C420. Working fire: A1, C20, C401. Second alarm: E4, E24, E9, L2, B3. Special called: E13, E10. Also: C43, C2, C421, WC1. Medical: EMS6 (first alarm), EMS 35, D4 (working fire), EMS 3, M95, D1, T1 (second alarm). Overnight companies were E20, E22, E7 (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and E6, E26, E28 (2 a.m. to 6 a.m.) Coverage included relocated Raleigh engine and ladder companies, as well as engines from Bay Leaf and Durham Highway fire departments.