‘The firemen did a great job they got me out the window:’ Residents evacuated after fire at the James Walker apartments

‘The firemen did a great job they got me out the window:’ Residents evacuated after fire at the James Walker apartments
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:43 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Wilmington Fire Department responded to an apartment fire in the James Walker apartments at 10 Rankin Street on Tuesday night just after 5:30 p.m.

One resident sustained minor injuries and a firefighter was also been injured. They were both taken to Novant New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Twelve people and a dog were rescued from the complex, including 2 people who were rescued by the ladder truck.

“The alarm was going off but sometimes they go off anyway,” said Resident Carolyn Davis. “Then it started getting real bad where you can’t breathe and we were coughing.”

Carolyn Davis is in a wheelchair and had to be assisted out of the building when it caught fire. She says she is lucky that the Wilmington Fire Department found her in time and pulled her out with the ladder.

“I thought he was gone drop me,” Davis said. “He was small and I said ain’t no way he can carry me but he did.”

Her family was right down the street shopping when they got the phone call that there was a fire. They got there as soon as they could, praying that Davis made it out.

“When I came up, I seen her in the wheelchair,” said Carolyn’s Sister Linda Booth. “I’m just crying thanking God it wasn’t worse. And I was looking for the words because she can’t get around. She can’t even see.”

Battalion Chief Derek Mickler said that these residents are lucky. Fire crews arrived on the scene within 3 minutes of the 911 call, and he’s grateful there wasn’t a different ending.

“This is a pretty hazardous situation,” he said. “As hazardous as it can get. Fully working apartment fire and our folks did an outstanding job today for two grabs two rescues, and then of course 10 additional folks that we assisted out of the apartment.”

As fire crews worked to contain the fire, Carolyn Davis sat just feet from the apartment doors thanking the brave men and women for coming to her rescue.

“The firemen did a great job they got me out the window,” she said.

The cause of the fire hasn’t been confirmed, but the Red Cross is assisting residents of 5 units who have been displaced.

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