Building Burns in Downtown Raleigh; 1 Hurt

The five-story building caught fire just after 10 p.m., and about 250 customers lost power. One person was reported injured

Firefighters have extinguished a massive late-night fire that engulfed an apartment building under construction in North Carolina's capital city, authorities said early Friday.

NBC affiliate WRAL reported the structure on fire was an apartment building under construction in downtown Raleigh. The five-story building on West North Street caught fire just after 10 p.m. The fire was under control by 1:10 a.m. 

Firefighters were still looking to control hot spots, but flames were out. One person was injured after being punctured in the chest by falling debris, a city fire official said. 

The City of Raleigh tweeted out a warning to avoid the downtown area as police and fire officials responded to the blaze. Nearby buildings were evacuated, according to WRAL.

One video posted to Twitter shows a large tower crane falling down.

During the three hours that the inferno burned, the flames ignited surrounding vegetation and spread to utility poles.

The flames spread to a nearby high-rise about 10:30 p.m., and at least three buildings on McDowell Street were affected, WRAL reported.  

Witnesses spoke of sparks and flying objects amid gusting winds. 

"There were chunks burning about 3 feet wide," Torrin McBynum, of Garner, told the News and Observer of Raleigh. "One of them went under my sweater."

Firefighters on extended ladders dumped water on the flames as wind gusts spread smoke for blocks.

Officials do not know the cause of the blaze, which left about 250 people in the area without power.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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