Harold Buzzell

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A Morris Circle home received substantial damage in a mid-day fire Monday 26-March. At 11:51, 9-1-1 operators began receiving multiple reports of a fire in the residence located at 136 Morris Circle south of Walterboro. Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue Engine 1 arrived minutes later to find the one-story structure with heavy smoke visible. Flames were coming from the roof and out of several windows on both sides of the building. A second mobile home, located approximately 20 feet away was endangered. Firefighters deployed multiple handlines to the building and protected the exposure. The structure was originally a wooden home that over the years had received several additions. At some point a singlewide mobile home was connected to the structure. Additional siding wrapped both structures and a second roof was added over the existing roofs. This presented problems for crews working to extinguish the fire. Firefighter-paramedics worked for about 35 minutes to gain control of the fire. Power tools and a K-12 circular saw were used to remove the front of the structure, the rear wall, and a portion of the side wall to allow firefighters access to the burning areas and some void spaces. Once the fire was knocked down, crews spent over four hours performing overhaul. No one was at home when the fire occurred. The occupant advised there was a wood burning stove inside the residence and a kerosene heater. The entire structure was gutted. The fire displaced a woman and seven children. The Red Cross is assisting the family. Water supply was handled with a water shuttle with tenders pumping directly to Engine 1. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Engine 1, Engine 26, Tender 1, Tender 19, Tender 26, Tender 27, Rescue 1, Medic 1, Medic 9, Medic 19, Battalion 1, Car 107, Car 112 and Car 116 responded. Battalion Chief Brent Dalton served as Incident Commander.

Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue

heavy smoke and flames from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke and flames from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke and flames from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke and flames from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke and flames from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

E-ONE fire engine at fire scene

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

Firefighter battles mobile home fire

Barry McRoy photo

heavy smoke from mobile home on fire

Barry McRoy photo

Firefighters overhaul mobile home fire

Harold Buzzell photo

Firefighters overhaul mobile home fire

Harold Buzzell photo

Firefighters overhaul mobile home fire

Harold Buzzell photo

 

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.

Engine 2, Engine 6, Engine 9, Engine 13, Engine 27, Engine 35, Tender 1, Tender 2, Tender 4, Tender 6, Tender 7, Tender 9, Tender 12, Tender 13, Tender 15, Tender 18, Tender 19, Tender 26, Tender 27, Tender 32, Tender 34, Tender 36, Tender 90, Ladder 6, Ladder 19, Rescue 1, Medic 1, Medic 6, Medic 7, Medic 9, Medic 19, Brush 2, Brush 6, Brush 9, Battalion 1, Car 105, Car 109, Car 110, Car 111, Car 112, Car 118, Car 119, Fleet 2 and the Forestry Commission responded.

Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Shane Weber photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

A Ruffin family was displaced following an afternoon fire that destroyed half of their home Wednesday, 27-September. At 17:05, Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue was notified of the incident when a neighbor noticed flames coming from the roof of the home at 413 Double Churches Road. Engine 18 arrived minutes later to find heavy fire conditions on the west side of the single-story, residential dwelling. The roof over the garage had already collapsed.

Firefighter-Paramedics deployed two 1-3/4 handlines and forced entry through the front door. Crews made an aggressive interior attack and stopped the spread of the fire approximately half the way through the residence. The fire was under control within 25 minutes.

A search of the building found no occupants, however two canines perished in the fire. Firefighters buried the animals for the homeowner. The fire appears to have started in the area of the electrical panel in the garage. It moved into the attic from the garage. Firefighters stopped the fire approximately midway through the home, saving the rooms on the east side of the structure and some personal items. The remainder of the home suffered smoke, heat and water damage. Water supply was handled with a water shuttle using tenders. Fire units were on the scene for four hours.

Engine 18, Engine 26, Tender 4, Tender 7, Tender 18, Tender 26, Tender 27, Medic 18, Medic 26, Battalion 1, Car 105, Car 112 and Car 119 responded. Battalion Chief Brent Dalton served as Incident Commander.

Barry McRoy

Colleton County fire truck on scene

Barry McRoy photo

Firefighters overhaul after a house fire

Barry McRoy photo

Firefighters overhaul after a house fire

Barry McRoy photo

Firefighters overhaul after a house fire

Barry McRoy photo

Colleton County fire trucks on scene

Barry McRoy photo

Firefighters overhaul after a house fire

Harold Buzzell photo

A Springtown (SC) home was heavily damaged in an afternoon fire Sunday 05-February. At 18:32, Colleton 9-1-1 operators received multiple reports of a building on fire at 8947 Augusta Hwy. (SC Hwy 61). Callers reported fire coming from the back and roof of the building with several nearby homes endangered.

Colleton County Fire-Rescue Battalion 1 arrived 7 minutes later to find the single-story, wood-frame dwelling heavily involved with fire visible from the roof and most of the rear of the structure in flames. Engine 26 arrived a short time later and deployed two 1-3/4″ handlines. One crew protected an exposure, a doublewide mobile home 35 feet west of the building, while a second crew forced entry through the front door.

Firefighter-Paramedics made an aggressive attack on the fire quickly bringing it under control within 15 minutes. The home suffered heavy damage during the fire, however one room and its contents were saved with little damage. Some personal items were also saved. Damage to the doublewide mobile home next door was minimal with only the vinyl siding being damaged. A car on the other side of the structure also received minor damage. The remaining two nearby structures were not damaged. Water supply was handled with a tender shuttle. No one was injured during the incident. Sheriff’s deputies detoured traffic on Augusta Hwy for two hours. The Red Cross is assisting the family.

Engine 5, Engine 7, Engine 26, Tender 5, Tender 7, Tender 26, Tender 32, Tender 36, Medic 26, Battalion 1, and Car 118 responded. Battalion Chief Brent Dalton served as Incident Commander.

Photos by Harold Buzzell

Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue

rural house engulfed in flames at night

Harold Buzzell photo

firefighter battles rural house fire at night

Harold Buzzell photo

firefighter battles final house fire

Harold Buzzell photo

E-ONE fire engine drafts from portable tank at house fire

Barry McRoy photo

firefighters survey aftermath of house fire

Barry McRoy photo

A Walterboro (SC) family was displaced following a structure fire at 212 Brights Court Monday afternoon, 30-January at 17:36. Callers to 9-1-1 reported the fire started in the area of the kitchen and then spread with smoke and flames reported to be coming from the attic.

Car 107 arrived to find heavy smoke conditions from all sides of the approx. 4000 sq ft home with flames visible from the south end of the building. Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue Engine 1 arrived and deployed two 1-3/4 handlines and used the deck gun in an effort to knock down the flames. As firefighters made entry through the front door, the roof erupted in flames along the ridge vent extending across the structure. Crews attempted an interior attack, but were evacuated from the building a short time later.

A second alarm was requested shortly after arrival as firefighters performed a defensive attack from outside the building. A charged power line fell from the building minutes after arrival blocking access to the rear of the south end of the structure. An additional 1-3/4 and one 2-1/2 handline were deployed.

Water supply was handled with a tender shuttle. A third alarm was issued for manpower 50 minutes into the incident. Crews worked for nearly 1-1/2 hours to gain control of the fire which extended throughout the common attic and damaged most rooms in the residence. The home suffered substantial damage. The fire appears to have started in the breaker box behind the kitchen and extended into the attic. The home had several additions. Fire units were on the scene for seven hours. No injuries were reported during the incident. The American Red Cross is assisting the family.

Engine 1, Engine 9, Tender 1, Tender 2, Tender 6, Tender 19, Tender 22, Tender 26, Tender 27, Medic 1, Medic 6, Medic 13, Medic 19, Car 107, Car 109, Car 118, and Car 119 were at the scene. Assistant Chief Marty Stallings served as Incident Commander.

Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue

fire department water tender dumps into portable tank with house on fire

Barry W. McRoy photo

Colleton County SC firefighters at work

Barry W. McRoy photo

firefighter with PPE exiting burning building

Harold Buzzell photo

firefighters battle house fire with heavy flames

Barry W. McRoy photo

fire department water tender dumps into portable tank with house on fire

Barry W. McRoy photo

fire department water tender dumps into portable tank

Barry W. McRoy photo

firefighters with hose line in garage

Harold Buzzell photo

A large barn at Circle M Ranch located at 2927 Cottageville Hwy (US Hwy 17-A) north of Walterboro was destroyed in an early morning fire 23-January. At 00:28 a passerby reported to 9-1-1 that the building was on fire and the roof have already collapsed. Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue units arrived minutes later to find the approximately 4,500 sq. ft. barn fully involved. Little of the building was still standing.

Firefighters deployed multiple hand lines to combat the blaze. A water shuttle operation was initiated for water supply. Crews contended with high winds which were a contributing factor in the rapid spread of the fire. The Circle M Ranch boards, sells, and trains horses. Most of the horses escaped injury, however one horse perished in the fire.

Firefighters were on the scene for three hours. Heavy thunderstorms were in the area most of the day and evening, bringing high winds, rain, and lightning.  The fire is suspected to have been storm related, but the cause is still under investigation.

Engine 19, Engine 27, Engine 36, Tender 1, Tender 9, Tender 19, Tender 26, Tender 27, Medic 1, Medic 9, Medic 19, Battalion 1, Car 109, and Car 111 responded. Battalion Chief Ben Heape served as Incident Commander.

Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue

firefighters battle barn fire at night

Barry W. McRoy photo

firefighters battle barn fire at night

Barry W. McRoy photo

Colleton County Fire Rescue battles barn fire at night

Barry W. McRoy photo

Colleton County Fire Rescue battles barn fire at night

Barry W. McRoy photo

firefighters battle barn fire at night

Barry W. McRoy photo

firefighters battle barn fire at night

Harold Buzzell photo

Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue units were sent to 304 Carolina Circle north of Walterboro, Wednesday morning 16-November at 03:02. Engine 19 arrived to find a single-story residential dwelling with flames visible from the roof. All occupants had safely exited the structure. Firefighter-Paramedics deployed multiple handlines to combat the fire which was burning throughout the attic. Crews pulled the ceilings in several rooms to reach the flames. It appeared the fire originated in the chimney and spread to the attic. The electrical service line burned through and fell from the home. When the power went off, the occupants were awakened and discovered the fire which had already burned through a portion of the roof and they alerted 9-1-1.

Firefighters worked for about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control, but were on the scene for three hours. Most of the fire damage was contained to the attic and roof, however the remainder of the home suffered water and smoke damage. Many personal items were saved. Water supply was handled with Tenders.

Engine 19, Engine 26, Tender 1, Tender 5, Tender 19, Tender 26, Medic 1, Medic 19, Medic 26, Battalion 1, Car 12, Car 107, Car 110 and Car 118 responded. Battalion Chief Scott O’Quinn served as Incident Commander.

Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue

ranch house on fire with flames

Harold Buzzell photo

firefighters battle ranch house on fire with flames

Barry W. McRoy photo

ranch house on fire with flames

Barry W. McRoy photo

Battalion Chief Scott O’Quinn

Barry W. McRoy photo

Colleton County fire engine at fire scene

Barry W. McRoy photo

firefighters overhaul after house fire

Barry W. McRoy photo