Firefighters Face Several Fires in Orangeburg County (SC)

Two fire apparatus

Gene Zaleski

The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, S.C.


Jan. 23—It was a busy week for local firefighters as they contended with several structure fires.

The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety was called out to a fire at a Rivers Street home early Monday morning.

When firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. The fire had already broken through the roof, causing the complete collapse of both the roof and walls of the house.

“It was discovered and reported by a neighbor who woke up to a popping noise,” ODPS Fire Marshal Inspector Jonathan Winningham said.

ODPS has listed the cause of fire as undetermined, although it appears to have started in the kitchen, according to a fire incident report. The fire is still under investigation.

The property damage is estimated at about $40,000.

On Thursday afternoon, crews were called out to a fire at 1430 Campus Drive near Jamison Avenue.

The structure has been vacant for the past year and a half, but was unsecured and had people living within it, Winningham said.

“We are not certain as to the exact cause, but it is listed as suspicious based on the nature of the building being vacant,” he said. “No one had permission to be on the premises.”

According to the fire incident report, the building had no power.

“The fire appears to have started on a reclining chair,” the ODPS fire incident report states. “The heat source is undetermined at this time.”

Winningham said the fire was extinguished quickly. The total damage sustained to the house was about $5,000. The value of the damaged contents is estimated at $2,500.

Outside of the City of Orangeburg, the Red Cross responded to a fire that occurred Thursday on Moorer Drive in Elloree.

Elloree Fire Chief Craig Hill said the call came in around 11:45 a.m.

“The lady’s son was cooking and there was grease on the stove,” Hill said. He had stepped away for a time and, “it caught fire. The smoke alarm alerted him. It got pretty big, but he was able to get out.”

The fire spread, eventually totaling the entire house.

Responding fire departments included Elloree, Providence, Santee and Fort Motte.

The Red Cross is helping three people in the Elloree fire by providing financial assistance for immediate needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

The Red Cross notes home fire dangers can often increase as the temperatures fall outside.

There are several safe ways for people to heat their homes:

—When heating your home, remember that space heaters need just that: space. Be sure they are three feet away from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, carpets, rugs and curtains.

—Children and pets should be kept away from space heaters so they do not get burned.

—Make sure space heater are off and unplugged before leaving a room or falling asleep.

—It is important to plug space heaters directly into outlets and not extension cords. Before you plug it in, inspect the power cord. If the cord is worn, broken or loose, have the appliance professionally repaired or replace it.

—Never burn charcoal inside a home.

—Kerosene heaters should be used in well-ventilated areas. Allow a heater to properly cool before refueling. Always refuel outdoors. Always use the proper type of fuel for kerosene heaters.


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