At 23:56, Thursday evening 17-March, Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue units were sent to the 100 block of Gadsden Loop for a structure fire with entrapment. On arrival, Car 118 found a single-story brick veneer dwelling well-involved with fire coming from the roof, front windows, and door. A 24-year-old occupant advised she was on the front porch when she heard a loud pop inside the home. When she went to investigate, the power was off and she found smoke banked about four feet from the floor. She made an attempt to reach a 59-year-old female in a back bedroom, but was driven out by the heat and smoke. She ran down the street to get help and she returned with her uncle. The two attempted a second time to reach the woman inside but were unsuccessful due to the increased fire and smoke. They broke some windows, then alerted 9-1-1.
Firefighter-paramedics arrived six minutes after the dispatch. A Sheriff’s deputy had spoken to the occupants and verified the location of the woman. He directed firefighters to a front bedroom. Crews deployed multiple handlines to the building and placed a ladder in the bedroom window. They entered the bedroom to search for the woman when the bedroom flashed over with fire blowing out of both windows. Firefighters narrowly escaped by diving out of a window.
Two firefighters suffered non-life threatening burns. Crews worked for about 30 minutes to contain the blaze. They located the woman in a front bedroom, and she had no signs of life. The Coroner’s Office was contacted. The 24-year-old woman was treated by firefighter-paramedics for smoke inhalation and was transported by Fire-Rescue Medic 26 to Colleton Medical Center.
Fire units were on the scene for 4 hours. The cause of the fire appeared to be electrical in nature. The occupants advised the home had electrical issues and Fire-Rescue had responded to the location for electrical problems in the past. Although the home was heavily damaged in the fire, two rooms were saved with little damage to the contents. The Red Cross is assisting the family.
Engine 1, Engine 19, Engine 27, Tender 1, Tender 19, Tender 26, Medic 1, Medic 19, Medic 26, Rescue 1, Battalion 1, Car 103, Car 112, and Car 118 responded. Battalion Chief Brent Dalton served as Incident Commander.
Barry W. McRoy
Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue