A fierce burning early morning fire at a Moncks Corner apartment complex leaves 30 people homeless as investigators pluck through the charred and soggy debris to determine a cause.
Fire crews from the City of Moncks Corner responded around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday to Santee Run Apartments off Bonniott Street.
“The first arriving crews found flames showing through the roof,” said Chief Robert Gass from the Moncks Corner Fire Department. Moncks Corner Rural and Whitesville Volunteer Fire Department assisted during the response as well. No injuries were reported.
“We set up an aerial water stream and got the fire under control and crews made an interior attack after that,” said Gass.
From one end to the other witnesses said the fire quickly chewed through the top floor of the building.
“I was lying in my bed with my oxygen machine at 12:30 and somebody was banging on my door and said move your car,” said Kathryn Kraft who has lived on the bottom floor of the, now destroyed building, for three years.
“My car was parked in the back, so I went out and moved my car and I turned around and there was the fire,” said Kraft.
For others the experience was a little more harrowing. Brian and Brenda Williamson who lived on the top floor of the structure were alerted by a neighbor beating on the door before fire crews arrived.
“I got about half way into the living room and when I opened the door it blew me back and it was cooking by then, so there was really nothing we could do,” said Brain.
“We were just trying to make sure everybody was out of the apartments because we have a lot of elderly people and we were trying to make sure they were accounted for,” said Brenda.
“Then we realized the lady next door — we happened to see her open her window and realized her and the baby were stuck in there,” said Brenda. “She threw the baby down to my husband and the manager and they caught the baby and then she climbed out of the window.”
“Everybody was across the street and that’s when we saw her open her window and I was like, ‘oh my god’!” Brian said, while standing across from the burned building that was his home for over a decade. “Twelve years, gone,” he said.
State investigators are now on the scene in Moncks Corner. The spokesperson from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Thom Berry said in an email that local authorities have asked arson agents from SLED to conduct an origin and cause investigation and they will try and determine where and how the fire started.
The 30 people displaced from the fire were able to go to shelter set up by the Red Cross at Point North Church in Moncks Corner. Just before noon on Wednesday a spokesperson said that most of them have since left the church and have been able to go stay with friends and family members.