Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Leadership

Lessons Learned from the Raleigh (NC) Metropolitan Apartment Fire

Issue 9 and Volume 170.

By Stephen J. Corker On Thursday, March 16, 2017, the Raleigh (NC) Fire Department responded to one of the largest fires in its 105-year history as a career fire department. The Metropolitan – a five-story; block-long and half-block-wide; wood-frame; 274,000-square-foot apartment building still under construction – was burning. It took three hours and 32 fire companies (130 firefighters) to get the fire under control. Several other buildings were damaged by flames, heat, and flying embers. Designed as a beautiful addition to the Glenwood South area of downtown Raleigh, the 300- × 400-foot structure was a massive sight to behold. Still in the framing stage at the time of the fire, it resembled a never-ending pile of building materials, engineered wood, and construction debris. The stairwell, parking deck, and metal construction machinery were the only noncombustible materials in the complex. Wood-frame buildings of lightweight construction have become popular in Raleigh and…

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