One of the ladies from our monthy get togethers has lost everything this weekend. When you watch the news, you see and hear about places going up in flames fairly often. This is the first time I actually knew someone affected. To top it all off, TODAY IS HER BIRTHDAY!!!! Here is the story from News and Observer.
Jessica Rocha, Staff Writer
CARRBORO - An apartment fire early Sunday morning spread so fast that it trapped some residents, killing one and forcing others to jump from their second-story apartments.
The fire destroyed the 14-unit G building at Colonial Village at Highland Hills apartments. Carrboro Fire Marshal Stan Foushee said that the cause of the blaze was under investigation but that the damage was so extensive the cause may never be determined.
The fire was not considered suspicious, Foushee said.
It started inside apartment G-7, a first-floor end unit, and quickly traveled through the building's roof and ceiling, Foushee said.
By the time firefighters arrived about 2 a.m., about 70 percent of the building was in flames, Foushee said.
Fire officials found one woman dead. The woman, who was in her 50s, was in her bedroom in the unit where the fire started, Foushee said.
Authorities did not release her name Sunday as officials worked to confirm her identity and notify her family.
The fire trapped two other women in their second-floor apartment, and they jumped to the ground to escape.
Steve Brady, a friend of the two women, said one is a math teacher at Chapel Hill High School, and the other is a business graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Those women jumped about 20 feet from their balcony because the apartment's front door was blocked by fire, Brady said.
They were taken to UNC Hospitals with ankle and leg fractures, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening, Foushee said.
Efforts to reach the women failed Sunday.
About 20 people were displaced by the fire, said Scott Madry, a volunteer with the Red Cross Orange County chapter.
Located near the UNC campus, the complex at 180 BPW Club Road south of the N.C. 54 bypass is popular with undergraduate and graduate students.
UNC-CH senior Sarah McNulty lived in G-8, a three-bedroom unit on the second floor on the opposite side from where the fire started.
McNulty, 21, was in Wilmington at the time of the fire and said both of her roommates were also out of town.
The apartment beneath hers was one of three vacant units.
In the fire she lost photos, her grandmother's diamond cluster ring and all of her furniture, clothes and jewelry, she said.
"Everybody says it's a blessing we weren't home," McNulty said. "But it's hard when everything you own is gone."
For her trip to Wilmington, McNulty took her research notebooks for her senior honors thesis and her computer.
Her roommates left their computers at home, she said, crying.
McNulty said she feels bad that her computer survived while her roommates' didn't.
Their computers had notes, e-mail messages and photos -- including all their photos from studying abroad and a visit to Peru.
"Everybody's lives are on their computers, and they're gone," McNulty said.
Sunday afternoon, about 14 hours after the fire, the building's remains still smoldered.
Two-thirds of the building collapsed into a heap of wood and metal.
The last third leaned out and rested against a charred tree.
Paint peeled and burned off the hoods of cars parked in front of the building, and the fire's heat cracked the windshields, Foushee said.
Zack Strange was one of several people who called 911 Sunday morning.
In his apartment across the street, he was watching TV with some friends when one noticed a glow and looked outside.
Strange said he opened the front door and saw that the fire had engulfed about one-third of the building.
He called 911 but said the fire spread through the building within minutes.
Flames shot so far into the air that they burned leaves at the tops of trees.
"The whole place just went up like that," he said.