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Fatal apartment fire near UNCW

READ MORE: Fatal apartment fire near UNCW
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Wilmington Firefighters are still investigating a fatal fire that broke out at an apartment complex near UNCW early Saturday morning. One person died and four others are injured. "The whole place was engulfed in probably a good 15 to 20 minutes," said witness Jared Huff. At around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, Cypress Pointe Apartment Building 5387, off New Center Drive, in Wilmington caught on fire. "Within about 35 minutes, we had the fire under control; however, we did have one fatality," said Wilmington Fire Captain James Casteen. That fatality was 23-year old Rory Michaelson. She just graduated from UNCW last month and was going to pursue a job as a Special Education teacher in New Bern. Three adults and one child were also injured in the fire. One of which was Michaelson's boyfriend. "Just screaming, she's still in there, 'I'm so sorry.' We got him back as best we could. He kept trying to go in, we kinda pulled him back.", said Huff. He's a former Marine and had a flame retardant flight suit in his car. "Me and three other gentlemen and an officer who responded, started kicking in doors as needed, and opening doors and telling all the tenants that they needed to get out because the apartment complex was on fire," said Huff. Before firefighters could get to the scene, Huff, three other former Marines, a Navy corpsman, and a police officer helped get people out. "My friend John ran up the stairs, and as we was reaching to the top, the roof actually fell in, he was knocked back." One volunteer ran in to save a woman and her child on the bottom floor. "He scooped up the child, a baby, young, and put her in his coat, and told the woman that she needed to wake up that her whole complex was on fire and at that point the whole outside of her apartment was on fire and the upstairs apartment as well," Huff said. The fire destroyed eight apartment units and damaged another eight. Barbara Reed lives in the apartment complex. She's been forced to move out. "There's no apartment left where i was at, I mean it's gone," said Reed. "Everything still smells like smoke, and there's stains, and it's terrible. I smelt like smoke myself." Reed says she's thankful to be alive, but she's going to miss living in her old apartment. "Just like family living under one roof and that's the way it was. So it definitely hit hard to see that a life was lost."

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My prayers are with her

My prayers are with her loved ones and with her surviving boyfriend and his family.

Fire Fatality

It is VERY tragic to read of any loss of life in a fire situation. While the cause has not been determined as of yet, it is important that we all take the time to insure that our smoke detectors are working and when we go to bed all candles, smoking materials and other hot items are extinguished in a safe manner. Also, having been in the fire service for over 30 years, I have seen more than enough fire deaths from various causes. Take the time to be safe and make sure your family is safe also. Prayers and thought go out to the family of the young lady and all the victims.

Wonder

Wonder if the smoke detectors were working.. The maintenance group for The Bell Apts (This one, Crosswinds) are slack and always do the bear minimum... At least at Crosswinds they do..We chweck our smoke detectors ourselves.. This is so horrible and tragic.. My thoughts go out to this girls family and loved ones.

Every apartment I've lived

Every apartment I've lived in, I've checked the smoke detectors AND in case they are not dual detection (ionization and photoelectric) have installed my own in addition. Why put your survival in someone else's hands?

Umm..

"We chweck our smoke detectors ourselves" It's called SELF RESPONSIBILITY...I KNOW I KNOW...its a hard thing to think of in the current dumbification of America...

gee

It must be horrible for you to have to check your own smoke detectors. Maybe you should sue. It takes 2 seconds to check a detector. The alarms do not wake everyone up. Some people can sleep through anything. Also people are overcome by smoke before they know what is going on. Sad.