Raleigh, N.C. — A week after a fire destroyed one downtown Raleigh building and damaged nine others, progress toward normalcy comes in small increments.

The site of what was to be the five-story Metropolitan apartment building at West Jones and North Harrington street has been the scene of an active investigation, but Raleigh police and fire investigators and agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wrapped up their on-site work Friday as they search for the cause of the five-alarm blaze – Raleigh’s largest fire in nearly a century.

Meanwhile, city building inspectors are still checking nearby buildings to see if they are structurally sound enough so the hundreds of residents who fled the fire can return.

“You wonder about the people in these buildings. You see the boarded-up windows. What are they doing? How are they coping?” said Slater Mapp, who works downtown and stopped Friday to check out the fire damage.

The Red Cross says the 110 residents they helped in days following the fire have found alternative living arrangements.

“That was an enormous fire, and they contained it,” Mapp said, praising the actions of local firefighters. “We’re fortunate to have people like that working for us.

Read more…