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Cigarette blamed for fatal fire

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We now know the cause of that apartment fire that took the life of recent UNCW grad Rory Michaelson over the weekend. Wilmington firefighters said it started on the outside, upper level deck of Michaelson’s apartment at Cypress Pointe off New Centre Drive.

“It was a windy night, and somehow a spark or a cigarette that was improperly discarded and that started the fire,” Battalion Chief David Hines said. “The fire then moved up the outside of the building into the attic area. Once it got into the attic area, it was above any smoke detectors; thus the detectors were not able to pick up and detect it. It disabled the smoke detectors which were electrical or hardwired detectors. The current to the detectors was disabled before the fire could ever reach it to set off the detection devices.”

The apartment building did not have sprinklers and the smoke detectors did not have a battery back-up. That combination proved to be deadly.

A celebration of Michaelson’s life will be held Thursday at UNCW. It’s open to UNCW students, faculty and staff.

Her boyfriend remains in critical condition at the burn center in Chapel Hill.

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Wilmington firefighters said it started on the outside, upper level deck of Rory Michaelson’s apartment at Cypress Pointe off New Centre Drive.

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