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3-alarm blaze damages 21 apartment units in SE Charlotte

Fire officials will be working today to determine what caused a three-alarm blaze that roared through an apartment building Wednesday evening off East Independence Boulevard in southeast Charlotte.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, which broke out about 8:30 p.m. at the Matthews Crossing apartments. That is near the Charlotte-Matthews line.

Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said the first firefighters on the scene not only had to deal with flames roaring from the roof and attic areas of the three-story building, but they also went door-to-door to make sure residents had gotten out safely.

Officials say 21 of the 22 units in the apartment building were occupied. Brisley said firefighters were able to halt the fire at the center stairwell, which limited damage to just 11 units.

Early Thursday morning, a few residents were gathered around the burned-out building. A smell of burnt wood hung heavy in the air.

“You could see the flames from well down Independence Boulevard,” said one man as he prepared to get into his truck and head for work. “People were lucky to get out of that one.”

Brisley said the 11 undamaged units are not habitable currently because utilities are out. Jennifer Franklin of the American Red Cross chapter in Charlotte said her agency provided food, clothing, mental health services and comfort kits to those who were left looking for shelter.

In all, 60 firefighters battled the blaze.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107;

Twitter: @slyttle
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