The flames broke out just after 10 p.m.in a five-story apartment building. The flames quickly spread to another building where people were said to be possibly trapped inside, fire officials said. Nearby buildings have been evacuated. In addition to the firefighters, 25 apparatus helped work the fire.
The cause and origin of the fire remains under investigation.
They say the building is in the north part of downtown - west of the General Assembly and state legislature buildings.
It's too early to determine what started the massive blaze. It is unclear how many, if any, other buildings have been affected by the blaze. A crane used at the construction site collapsed minutes after firefighters arrived.
"We were watching it from my room because it got too hot to be on the balcony and the window popped in from the fire", Williams said. "One of them went under my sweater". Overall, 10 buildings were damaged - five severely, said Raleigh Fire Division Chief John Fanning. A number of streets in the area were still closed Friday morning.
The Red Cross is mobilizing volunteers to assist those who have been displaced by the fire.