Quick-thinking teen helps neighbors escape safely from Fayetteville apartment fire

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Neighbors living next to a quick-thinking teen could have him to thank for being safe after a Fayetteville apartment complex caught fire.

The fire started at Briarcliffe Condos on Tryon Drive around 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

“I was crawling up under the smoke because I wanted my stuff so bad, something just snapped like, ‘Bro, you’re going to die if you keep trying to do this,” Xaver Mitchell said.

Mitchell woke up this morning to the smell of smoke.

“I would have died if I would have went back to sleep,” he said.

Mitchell went to check it out. The smoke was coming from the dryer.

“As soon as I opened the bathroom door, smoke was everywhere, the whole house was full of smoke,” Mitchell said. “It was just so fast … the whole bathroom was on fire and you couldn’t go back in the house.”

After going around warning neighbors to get out, the 16-year-old aspiring rapper tried running back in to save his new computer and music equipment, but quickly turned around.

“I got a bad headache right now. I was lightheaded. I almost fell trying to go down the stairs.”

In his 24 years of fighting fires, Fayetteville Fire Department Battalion Chief Bob Bowers said it’s something he sees too often; people risking their lives to save their stuff.

“Things are important to people, but you only have one life,” Bowers said. “We can’t replace that, we can replace everything else.”

“It’s really crazy it happened the way it did, it happened as fast as it did, because you don’t ever think your house is going to burn down,” Mitchell said. “I mean, everything happens for a reason, so I just feel like it’s God telling me it’s time to leave you’re supposed to be on tour anyway.”

No one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

The American Red Cross is helping out the displaced residents.

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