Man says he dodged Morrisville apartment fire because his dog wanted to walk

Wake County News

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Residents of a Morrisville apartment complex say they are grateful to walk away unharmed from a large fire that damaged 17 units Wednesday afternoon.

Morrisville officials said 32 people were displaced after the fire at the Camden Westwood Apartment complex at the intersection of Chapel Hill Road and Weston Parkway. 

“It was just heart stopping. I couldn’t move,” said Michael Giangrasso.

Giangrasso went to take a nap, but instead his dog Jessie begged him for a walk. Giangrasso said when they left, he noticed a burning smell, but nothing was on in his apartment.

He said only a few minutes went by when a neighbor called to tell him his unit was on fire. Giangrasso said that by the time he raced back home, the apartment was “completely gone.”

“There’s a lot of stuff that we lost. It looks like our apartment took one of the biggest hits, but I look down at my dog and I look at my fiancee and that’s what’s important. It’s finding solace in that,” Giangrasso said.

Karen Hunt, who also lives in the complex, said she heard a commotion outside her window.

“I came out here (and) there was fire everywhere. Just everywhere. It was so big. It was large,” Hunt said.

Officials said it took 40 firefighters from Apex, Cary and Western Wake Fire Departments about 30 minutes to put the fire out.

Giangrasso said he is happy to walk away unharmed, and grateful Jessie wanted to go for a walk when he did.

“I wouldn’t have had any chance of getting out if I waited 15 more minutes,” he said.

No one was hurt, and crews rescued at least three dogs from the burning complex. Officials said the complex is working with the Red Cross to find housing for the impacted residents.

Town officials said the cause of the fire was ruled to be “undetermined.”

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