North Raleigh News

Dinner reunites residents displaced by North Raleigh apartment fire

Jaimie Newsome still finds herself driving to her apartment after work, nearly two weeks after the 12-unit North Raleigh complex was left uninhabitable by a fast-burning fire.

Newsome said she can’t quite believe that the place where she had made a home is gone.

“The first couple of days after were the worst,” she said. Newsome, 32, had to quickly box up what was salvageable from her water-damaged second-floor unit at the Cambridge Apartments off Six Forks Road, north of Lynn Road.

But Newsome said that her friends, family and co-workers, as well as help from Cambridge finding a new apartment at a discounted rate, have made everything easier.

“A lot of people have been really nice and supportive,” she said.

A group of real estate and other housing-related companies Saturday hosted a dinner for Newsome and her neighbors from the ruined building as a show of support from the wider community.

“This was sweet,” Newsome said. “It was such a surprise.”

Newsome said she was used to seeing her neighbors, many of them friends, frequently when she lived in the complex. The dinner was a homecoming of sorts, where everyone could compare notes on what the past two weeks have been like.

Andre Fajardo, a broker at Advantage Realty Enterprise, said that it was good to bring together the residents and companies that know the importance of housing.

“We try to be as active in the community as possible,” he said.

KB Homes, Lennar Homes, Prime Lending and Hope Fellowship Church also helped provide the dinner, and gift cards and clothing for residents.

Ruled accidental

The midafternoon fire on Nov. 10 was ruled accidental. Fire officials said it was caused by someone improperly disposing of smoking material. No injuries were reported.

The residents said those on the third floor of the building suffered the most damage. Residents on the first and second floors had to deal primarily with water damage, which was severe in some cases.

Robert Albo, 48, lived on the third floor and was asleep when the fire started.

He was alerted by a maintenance worker and scrambled to find his cat before leaving the apartment. By the time he did, he and his pet were suffering smoke inhalation.

Albo said he still is having trouble sleeping.

“It’s messed me up pretty bad,” he said. “It was pretty scary.”