Colleton County Fire Chief Barry McRoy submitted the following images and account of a fire that occurred August 21, 2013.
An early morning structure fire heavily damaged a home located at 1826 Wichman Street in Colleton County South Carolina. The fire was reported at 03:02, Wednesday morning 21-August. Firefighters arrived to find the single story, wooden residential dwelling heavily involved. Engine 19 used it’s deck gun to knock down the flames, until crews deployed two 1-3/4 handlines to the building.
The home contained an immense fire load, with clothing and miscellaneous articles stacked five feet high in all rooms. A neighbor reported that an elderly woman was inside the structure. Firefighters had difficulty entering the building due to the large piles of clothing, books, and other items. The heaviest fire was knocked down within ten minutes, but crews worked another 25 minutes attempting to gain access to the interior. A tender shuttle was used for water supply.
All windows and the rear door were blocked. Firefighters used a circular saw to cut away the entire “B” side of the residence and removed the wooden and vinyl siding to gain access to the interior. Firefighters spent three hours tunneling though and removing debris searching for the woman.
Sheriff’s Deputies were successful in finding her at a friend’s home several miles from the incident location around dawn. She was safe and did not know of the fire. Crews continued to soak the contents of the home to extinguish the huge piles of clothing and other combustibles. Fire and Law Enforcement units remained on the scene for four and half hours. Investigators believe the fire was caused by an electrical problem in an outlet on an interior wall.
Barry W. McRoy
Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue