Carrboro Family Displaced by Fire

A fire in Carrboro displaced five residents from their home, according to officials.

Carrboro Fire crews responded to a structure fire at 204 Cates Farm Road at 11:32 on Sunday night.

Carrboro Fire_5

Firefighters found smoke and heavy fire coming from the roof of the home. Firefighters from Carrboro, Chapel Hill, North Chatham, Orange Grove, New Hope, and White Cross Fire Departments were able to get the fire under control in approximately 45 minutes.

The Red Cross is assisting the family.

Carrboro Fire Marshal Kent Squires says the cause of the fire is still under investigation. An agent from the State Bureau of Investigation who specializes in these cases is assisting the fire department.

No injuries resulted from the fire.

Fire Overnight in Chapel Hill Office Park

The Chapel Hill Fire Department was on the scene of a fire Wednesday morning.

The fire was at 920 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, in a small office park.

Battalion Chief Jeff Cabe says the owners of a dentist office came in to open up and were greeted by a large amount of smoke.

“By the time we were dispatched and we got on scene, there was a lot of smoke left in the building,” he says. “The damage was pretty significant throughout the main portions of the hallway and the building. But the fire was out.”

Cabe says that is an unusual scenario: for a fire to have, apparently, burned itself out by the time the fire department is called.

He adds the cold weather likely did not play a factor in the fire.

“I would think weather probably didn’t have anything to do with it, based on the nature of where the fire [was]; the fire was in the center of the building,” he says. “My guess is, because it’s the heating season, that when the fire started it shut the heating system down.”

Cabe says the heating system shutting off would have cut off the main supply of air to the fire.

The battalion chief adds fire marshals were investigating the scene, as of Wednesday morning, and were working to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

“With it being a fire that burned itself out, it may take a little bit longer,” he says. “That’s sort of an unusual situation.”

No injuries were reported in the fire.

Vehicle Fire Damages Chapel Hill Home

A vehicle fire on Saturday evening wound up doing $30,000 in damage to a home in Chapel Hill.

At 6:05 pm, Chapel Hill Fire crews were called to 110 Middlebrook Court, in a subdivision near the intersection of Erwin and Sage. When they arrived, they found a vehicle on fire inside the garage and the fire beginning to spread.

Officials quickly evacuated the home and put out the blaze, but not before the fire did $30,000 worth of damage to the garage and the vehicle. Parts of the home also suffered smoke damage – but fortunately there were no injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Chapel Hill Fire officials are reminding everyone to make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home.

Check Your Smoke Alarm!

Chapel Hill Fire Marshal Todd Iaeger says roughly half of home fire deaths result from nighttime fires when people are asleep, and the number one key for reducing those deaths is to have a working smoke detector.

“It’s the number one way to keep people safe and notify them,” Marshal Iaeger says. “Your chances dramatically drop of being killed or injured in a fire if you have proper smoke detection.”

Marshal Iaeger is currently promoting Fire Prevention Week with this year’s campaign slogan of “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives, Test Yours Every Month”.

The US Fire Administration reports that fires involving laundry equipment are reported approximately 2,900 times per year, and on Sunday, a home in the Finley Forrest Neighborhood near the Friday Center caught fire due to an overheating of the dryer vent piping.

Marshal Iaeger says when winterizing your home, it’s also a good time to have your equipment maintained by a professional in order to assure it’s working properly and safely.

“You always want to make sure, on a regular basis, every month, that your lint filters or your lint exhaust areas of your building are clean,” Marshal Iaeger says. “Checking your dryer and cleaning the lint filter every use is the practical and appropriate thing to do. Anything else around the house when it comes to heating equipment—we’re getting into that season—you want to make sure that your utilizing a qualified and trained technician from an appropriate and respectable company that can come out and service your equipment.”

Fire Prevention Week runs through Saturday.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign includes:
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each bedroom and on every level of the home, including the basement.
• Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all sound.
• Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.
• Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.

For more information, visit

Fire at UNC Hospitals’ Parking Deck Shuts Down Walking Bridge

An early-morning fire beneath the walkway between the hospital and the Dogwood Parking Deck destroyed five golf carts, and temporarily shut down the bridge across Manning Drive.

Fortunately, the 2:30 a.m. blaze was extinguished by Chapel Hill firefighters in about 15 minutes, and no one was hurt, according to a press release from UNC Hospitals.

But as a result, the traffic light at the intersection of Manning and Hospital Drives was not working. Drivers were cautioned to proceed as if there were a stop sign there.

Pedestrians were advised to cross an alternate bridge or use the street.

Investigators have learned that the fire was caused by a battery malfunction in one of the golf carts.

The bridge and the valet parking lot will remain closed until a cleanup of the area is completed.

WRAL News reported that hospital visitors said they heard and felt an explosion.

***Update: The traffic light is once again operational; the pedestrian bridge has been checked for structural damage and is reported to be safe for pedestrians and golf carts.

WRAL News reported that fire began when a battery in a golf cart near the valet stand malfunctioned.

Fire Damages Orange Correctional Center

More than 200 inmates at the Orange Correctional Center had to be relocated on Saturday after an early-morning fire that damaged the kitchen building.

According to a statement from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, a total of 216 minimum-security inmates had to be relocated. About 180 inmates in the regular population were transferred to Johnston Correctional Institution in Smithfield. Inmates in the disciplinary segregation unit were moved to other prisons across the state.

DPS reports that no one was injured in the fire, but it did leave the jail with no way to feed the inmates. Inmates will have to remain relocated until the kitchen can be repaired or rebuilt.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Firefighters Battle Blaze Near Carrboro

CARRBORO- Multiple Orange County fire departments battled a major house fire south west of Carrboro on Friday afternoon.

The blaze was first reported just before 5 o’clock. Crews trucked in water to the structure, located at 501 Old School Road off Jones Ferry Road.

The Red Cross has been contacted to help people displaced by the fire, which was reportedly under control as of 6 o’clock.

Tuesday Fire Causes Thousands In Damage

CHAPEL HILL – A structure fire Tuesday evening caused thousands of dollars of damage in a two-story home at 219 Stagecoach Road.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department responded to a call shortly before 8:00 p.m., finding smoke in the crawl space of the house. Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire within six minutes and there were no injuries, but the residents have been displaced from the home and the damage is estimated to be $5,000.

The Fire Marshal says the blaze was accidental, but hasn’t released a cause of origin. Still, fire officials are taking the opportunity to remind people to keep anything flammable at least three feet away from any heating equipment, including furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters.

“Keep the Wreath Green” Campaign To Prevent Fires

CHAPEL HILL – With the holiday season upon us again, the Chapel Hill Fire Department begins their “Keep the Wreath Green” campaign to prevent residential fires.

During the “Keep the Wreath Green” campaign, the Chapel Hill Fire Department will display and illuminated wreath on the front of Fire Station No. 1 on MLK.  The wreath will be lit with all green lights, but for each residential fire that occurs, a red light will be installed.

Chapel Hill Fire Department Public Information Officer, Lisa Edwards, says they hope the wreath encourages fire safety.

“Our strategy and our goal is as people drive by and they see the wreath, and all of the bulbs are green, we want to remind people to practice as much home fire safety as possible so we can keep the wreath green” Edwards says.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department releases a lot of information on how to keep your home safe from fires during the holiday season when many people use lights, candles, and fireplaces more often.  Edwards says research shows December is the month for fire.

“When we pull data from the United States Fire Administration report, it shows us that most the highest incident of resident fires happen in December” Edwards states.

You can help avoid holiday fires by not overloading circuits with lights, keep trees away from open flames or a direct heating sources, and being careful when cooking holiday foods.  Edwards says they hope to repeat the results from last year.

“We hit the mark last year with no residential fires during the month of December, first time ever, and so we are looking for that again this year” Edwards says.

For more information on how to prevent fires during the holiday season you can click here.

CHFD Warns Of Fire Dangers With Dryness

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the rest of Orange County and the surrounding Triangle area has been extremely dry for the past several weeks.  Passing rain showers have done little to ease the problem.

In fact, some areas of North Carolina have been so dry that wildfires have broken out like the Table Rock blaze in the Linville Gorge located in the Pisgah National Forest.  It has burned over 18-hundred acres and more land is expected to be damaged before it is brought under control.

There have also been a few wildfires around our region.  Matt Lawrence is the Operations Chief with the Chapel Hill Fire Department.  He says conditions here are not dry enough yet to issue a red flag alert…

“We’re not to a level of dryness yet that causes the state—in our area at least—any tremendous concern,” Lawrence says. “It is fall, though; we do have a lot of dry leaves that are falling, and things generally dry out this time of year.”

Chief Lawrence reminds Chapel Hill residents that you can’t have an open fire inside the corporate limits.

“We have an open-burning ordinance which doesn’t allow any type of open burning of leaves, trash, limbs, yard debris, or anything like that,” Lawrence says.

He says that this not only is the law, but it makes sense not to burn your leaves or other yard debris.

“If we had somebody burning leaves, first of all it would be a nuisance,” Lawrence says. “We get tons of calls for that. But then also you’re putting your neighbors at risk simply because if that fire gets out of control it could spread very quickly.

Chief Lawrence also says that it is very easy for an open fire to send cinders into the air causing wildfires to occur even up to a mile away.

“It has the potential to have sparks that escape and get into dry tinder in the yard (which) could cause a fire,” Lawrence says.