The Metropolitan Apartments project was inspected more than 50 times before it burned to the ground.
By Jonah Kaplan
Updated 2 hrs 30 mins ago
RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- No one lived in the unfinished building that burned down, but fire protections in neighboring existing apartments helped limit the damage.
That's the prevailing feeling among officials on Friday as crews work furiously to clean up the wreckage from a massive five-alarm fire Thursday night in downtown Raleigh.
"While this happens - it's a rare occasion in the City of Raleigh," Fire Chief John T. McGrath told the ABC11 I-Team. "Things can be replaced. People cannot. No one was killed and no one was seriously injured."
McGrath confirmed to the I-Team that the general contractor, Clancy Theys, passed several recent inspections at their construction site at 314 W. Jones St. The project, the 241-unit Metropolitan Apartments, were being built at the site of the Trailways Bus Station - a property worth more than $7 million, according to county records.
Greyhound Bus Company sold the lot to Northbrook, Ill-based Banner Real Estate Group in January 2016. The terminal was torn down on November 29, meaning construction only began three and half months ago.
"This company, since they began building (the apartments), has been inspected 50 times - the latest on Monday," the chief added.
North Carolina's building codes are governed by international standards, mandating that all apartment complexes like Metropolitan, have tested and approved sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers at specified locations, access to exits, and fire-repellant doors that resist flames by at least two hours.
The doors, however, cannot be installed until the walls are finished - which is why Metropolitan did not have those protections in place.
For more information on building and fire codes, visit:
State building codes
Banner Real Estate and Clancy Theys Company released this joint statement:
"We thank the heroic firefighters and all first responders who risked their lives to contain this fire and that no loss of life occurred. While the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, we are working closely with authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and review of the incident.
To our neighbors and to the surrounding community, we are saddened by this unfortunate situation and ask for your patience as the investigation continues and as we begin the process of site cleanup."
Downtown Raleigh fire (image courtesy Eric Debrah)