Two adults and two children narrowly escaped an early morning fire at 413 Azalea Drive Tuesday morning 05-June. At 03:48, 9-1-1 received a report from a resident on Tulip Drive, one block from the scene, advising he could see flames coming from the roof of a house on Azalea Drive. While Fire-Rescue units were enroute, the occupants of the home were awaken by the smoke inside the house. The adults quickly awakened the children and all four occupants climbed out of the master bedroom window to safety. The home did not have any working smoke detectors. After escaping, the family called 9-1-1, providing the correct address.
Colleton County (SC) Engine 26 arrived a short time later reporting flames coming from the roof over the garage and heavy smoke conditions throughout the single-story, residential dwelling. Firefighter-paramedics verified with the occupants that everyone was safely out of the home. Crews deployed multiple hand lines to the building, with one crew attacking the fire through the garage and a second crew forcing entry through the front door. The fire had entered the kitchen area from the garage, but interior crews quickly gained control of the fire.
The flames had also spread through the attic, burning over the bedrooms. Firefighters pulled the ceiling in several rooms to reach the flames and extinguish the fire. It was contained mostly to the garage, kitchen, and attic. The majority of the structure and most personal items in the remainder of the home were saved. No injuries were reported. Water supply was conducted using tenders who supplied Engine 26. The fire appears to have originated in the utility room off of the garage and is believed to have been electrical in nature. Units were on the scene for four hours.
Engine 26, Engine 27, Tender 1, Tender 4, Tender 5, Tender 19, Tender 26, Tender 27, Medic 19, Medic 26, Battalion 1, Car 112, and Car 118 responded. Captain Brian Rowe served as Incident Commander.
Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue
While Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue crews were working a MVC with entrapment on Robertson Blvd, 9-1-1 operators began receiving reports of a high speed MVC on I-95 near the 63 mile marker north bound. The incident occurred Thursday evening 29-March at 19:34. Callers reported a motorhome had crashed in the median and was on fire. Colleton Fire-Rescue units arrived quickly and found the motorhome fully involved and an approx. ½ acre woods fire in the median. Northbound traffic was already stopped with emergency vehicles having to use the breakdown lane to reach the scene. The northbound motorhome left the roadway at a high rate of speed and struck several trees. The vehicle suffered heavy damage and the large cab was turned at 90 degrees on the frame. A passerby, Timothy Hunley from NC, witnessed the accident, stopped and pulled an injured 40-year-old woman from the burning vehicle, saving her life. The woman’s husband, who was the driver, was missing. Firefighter-paramedics began treating the woman, who suffered multiple life threatening injuries in addition to receiving 30-40% third degree burns. The man who pulled her out of the vehicle also received burns, but he denied transportation to the hospital.
Firefighter-paramedics deployed multiple handlines to combat the fire from the northbound lanes and searched the area for the missing driver. Several LP tanks exploded, sending debris flying in both directions. As a safety measure the southbound lanes of I-95 were closed as well until the fire was knocked down. Fire apparatus was also positioned on the southbound side to assist in extinguishing the vehicle and woods fires which had 15 foot flames and was rapidly moving north sending flames and burning ash into the southbound lanes of traffic. Water for the firefighting effort was provided with tenders who shuttled water to the scene.
The C.A.R.E. Flight medical helicopter based in Walterboro responded to the scene and landed on I-95 north of the accident. The woman was transferred to the flight crew, then flown in critical condition to the Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta Georgia. Crews worked for about 25 minutes to bring the fire under control and continued to extinguish hot spots for several hours. After about 35 minutes, units on the southbound side were moved to the northbound side to allow southbound traffic to move freely. Both northbound lanes remained blocked for 1-1/2 hours. Once the fire was extinguished, Firefighter-paramedics located the driver’s body in the mangled cab. He was trapped in the wreckage and severely burned. The was notified and responded. After the Coroner’s Office completed their investigation, firefighters removed the deceased from the wreckage and the Coroner’s Office transported his body. One northbound lane remained closed for four hours. The SC Highway Patrol is investigating the accident. Sheriff’s Deputies assisted with traffic control.
Engine 5, Engine 26, Tender 1, Tender 5, Tender 19, Tender 26, Tender 27, Rescue 1, Battalion 1, Car 107, Car 112 and Car 118 responded. Battalion Chief Brent Dalton served as Incident Commander.
Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue
A residence at 3639 Bells Highway west of Walterboro, was destroyed in an early morning fire 30-March at 03:03. Callers to 9-1-1 reported the building was fully involved. Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue Engine 26 arrived to find the one story wooden building fully involved and near collapse. Firefighter-Paramedics deployed multiple handlines to combat the fire. Shortly after arrival, most of the building collapsed. Crews worked for about 30 minutes to gain control of the fire and were on the scene for 3 hours. The fire was of a suspicious origin. Colleton Fire Investigators requested the State Police (SLED) Arson unit to respond to the scene. Investigators worked the site throughout the morning 30-March. The building was vacant at the time of the fire.
Engine 1, Engine 26, Engine 27, Tender 1, Tender 4, Tender 5, Tender 18, Tender 19, Tender 27, Medic 1, Medic 18, Medic 19, Battalion 1, Car 110 and Car 112 responded. Battalion Chief Brent Dalton served as Incident Commander.
Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue
At 06:38 Tuesday morning 27-Februaury, Colleton County (SC) 9-1-1 received a report of a fire in the gym of the former Cottageville School located at 72 Salley Ackerman Drive in the Town of Cottageville. The array of four former school buildings makes up the Cottageville Municipal Complex. The two older brick veneer buildings which were constructed in the 1930s, consisted of a 10,200 square foot two-story gym and a 200’ long, 11,500 square foot adjacent main school building which was once used as classrooms. Both buildings have been vacant for nearly a decade and were used for storage by the town. Two other smaller, more modern buildings are used as municipal offices, the police dept, and a public library. A construction crew who was arriving to work constructing a town park, noticed smoke coming from the gym. Upon inspection, they found flames coming from the rear windows on the first and second floors.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue Engine 9, stationed a mile away, arrived within minutes to find the building heavily involved, with flames and heavy smoke coming from most of the building. They requested a second alarm and deployed multiple handlines to the structure. The fire was already impinging on the large classroom building which only had a few feet of separation by a covered breezeway. Battalion Chief Feather arrived 10 minutes later in Car 118 and assumed command of the fire. He requested a third alarm and noted the turbine vents along the length of the roof of the classroom building had already begun to melt and were emitting heavily charged black smoke. Firefighters deployed lines into the classroom building, but the ceilings on the north end of the building were already beginning to fail, with fire dropping to the interior of the building. Firefighters were evacuated from the inside of the structure as flames began to run the roof line. The fire spread quickly through the old wooden structure.
The rural Cottageville Community does not have a water system, so three separate water shuttle operations were initiated. Two ponds equipped with dry fire hydrants were utilized in the Cottageville area and one group of tenders was sent to refill at pressurized hydrants at the airport industrial park near Walterboro, 12 miles away. Engine 6 setup a fill site on Whites Ave two miles away and Engine 35 setup a fill site at the sand pits off of Peirce Road four miles from the scene. Drop tanks were used in front of the gym (Alpha Side) to supply Engine 2 and Ladder 6. A second drop tank was used on the east (Charlie) side of the building to supply Engine 27 and Ladder 19. A third drop tank was used on Salley Ackerman Drive to supply Engine 9. Battalion Chief Dalton and Firefighter-Paramedic Robert Gregory coordinated water supply with 17 Colleton tenders shuttling water from the three locations for approximately seven hours. Cottageville Police units and sheriff’s deputies blocked off roads leading to the scene, to keep lanes open for the tenders. One lane of Cottageville Hwy (US Hwy 17-A) was used as a staging area for tenders. As the water supply needs increased, a fourth alarm for additional tenders was issued. Command was transferred to Deputy Chief Greene. B/C Feather was moved to Alpha Operations and B/C Sheffield was assigned to Charlie Operations. Crews on the east (Charlie) side of the fire buildings protected exposures and saved the two municipal office buildings. One building did suffer heat damage to the windows and siding.
Both fire buildings were a total loss, including all of the stored materials, the municipal Christmas and Halloween decorations, lawn maintenance equipment, and police equipment. A contractor with a large track hoe was brought in during the afternoon to remove debris to allow firefighters to complete overhaul of the buildings. The remaining brick veneer walls were pushed in for safety concerns. The fire did spread to a wooded area behind the school and a State Forestry Commission Tractor responded to cut a fire line around the back of the building. The woods fire was quickly contained. Due to the structure being a municipal building, South Carolina State Police arson investigators were brought in to investigate the cause of the fire. Five investigators and an arson dog worked at the scene for six hours. Cottageville Mayor Tim Grimsley, several municipal leaders and employees were on the scene for the duration of the event. The town and many citizens brought food and drinks to firefighters and law enforcement officers working the fire. Fire units were cleared up from the fire by 17:00. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and was treated at the scene. He did not require transportation to the hospital. Deputy Chief Greene, B/C Dalton, B/C Jones, and Chief McRoy operated the Command Post.