Glenwood Towers – Major Fires and Fatal Fires

While we’re still reflecting on the Glenwood Towers high-rise fire from last week, let’s look at the historical perspective. What other major fires–and fatal fires–have happened since it opened in 1971?

Fatal Fires

Feb. 2, 2003
Philip George Moultrie, 55
Fifth-floor apartment. Victim found on living room floor. Pronounced dead on the scene. Apparently started by smoking. Dispatched 2:28 p.m. Fire confined to victim’s apartment.

Jan 4, 1975
William Henry Dunn, 76
Found in his sixth floor apartment. Victim awoke during the blaze and notified a neighbor, who called the fire department. Victim was transported to Wake Memorial Hospital with first- and second-degree burns on both legs, and was listed in fair condition the following day. Two others were transported, one suffering from pneumonia as a precaution, and one for a prearranged trip. Dunn died April 14. Coroner cited arteriosclerosis as cause, with lower leg amputation as other significant condition, from third-degree burns. Nearly all of the 350 residents had evacuated when firefighters arrived. Fire heavily damaged victim’s room but did not spread. Minor smoke damage to sixth floor hallway.

June 6, 1974
Nellie Gray Chappell, 63
Ninth-floor apartment. Victim found in bathroom, deceased on arrival, while small fire burned in nearby clothes hamper. Corner determined cause as “possible malnutrition” and “apparently natural.” Started by light bulb resting against clothing. Fire reported at 12:44 a.m. by two neighbors who noticed smoke in the hall. They called both the fire department and the maintenance foreman. Two policemen arrived, forced the door open, and extinguished the small fire with an extinguisher. Damage $500. Glenwood Towers was built in 1970, and notable for its use of fireproof materials. Neither smoke nor heat detectors were required at the time of construction. Only last week, the Raleigh House Authority had met with salesmen to discuss installing smoke-sensing devices.

Source: Legeros research on fatal fires.

Major Fires

Defined as two or more alarms.

October 26, 2018

Three alarms. Dispatched 12:55 p.m. as fire alarm. Heavy smoke on ninth floor, heavy fire found in single apartment. Working fire at 1:02 p.m. Second alarm at 1:03 p.m. Third alarm at 1:12 p.m. Two additional engines at 1:20 p.m. Additional alarms and personnel for manpower needs, for evacuation and rescue of some 10 to 12 occupants, some that called 911 to report their locations. Water on fire at 1:38 p.m. Extended operations for overhaul, air monitoring, and assisting residents with returning. Six residents transported, one treated and not transported. Over 100 evacuated. Total 28 units damaged, 26 [?] residents displaced.

Fire response: E1, E2, E3, E5, E6, E8, E10 (relief), E11, E13, E17, E20, Sq 7, Sq 14, L1 (relief), L3, L4, L7, L8, R1, C20, C401, C402, C1, C2, C3, C4, C14, B2, B3, B5 A1, A2 (relief), Training Division Chief, Training Captains, recruit academy members.

EMS response: EMS15, 16, 22, 3, 33, 4, 52, 54, 6, 62, 63, 68, 7, 8, plus [single?] units from Franklin, Johnson, Harnett, Granville counties; District 1, 3, 4, 5, Medic 91, 92, 93, 95, CH 101, 102, 200, Evac 1, EMS PIO.

See earlier blog post for more information.

May 18, 1992

Two alarms. Dispatched about 4:45 p.m. Heavy smoke and minor fire in apartment on second-floor. Code 2 on arrival by E5, upgraded to Code 3 by Car 52. Fire in a/c unit, damage only to a/c unit and carpet. E5, E3, T1, R7, C52; E1, E3, T8, R6, C1, C2, C4, C5, C12, SR 5.

Source: Legeros timeline, 1990s.

December 27, 1990

Two alarms. Code 3 on arrival. Heating/air-condition unit on fire in one apartment. Evacuated seventh floor. One resident transported. Second alarm not utilized. E5, E13, T1, C52, R7; E1, E3, T8, C51; C3, C4, C10, C1, C70, SR1.

Source: Legeros timeline, 1990s.


Are there more two-alarm fires, than recorded here? That’s quite possible. And are there single-alarm responses that should be categorized as “major fire”? That involved heavy fire in a single unit, or heavy smoke and significant evacuation? Good question. Will ponder. 

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  1. Pingback: Three Alarms at Glenwood Towers – Legeros Fire Blog

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