Fire kills puppy in Beaufort; Family survives

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC/WCSC) - A fire destroyed a Beaufort home over the weekend, leaving 10 people without a place to live.

Fortunately, the entire family made it out alive, but their family pet did not. The Beaufort family is now staying in a temporary shelter after fire broke out in the attic of their home. The community is coming together to help the family gather items and cope with the loss of their pet.

Early Sunday morning flames could be seen shooting out of this home on Newscastle Street in Beaufort. A mother and father, their five children, the mother's step father and her two young sisters all lived in the home.

"My husband was coming in from hanging out and saw flames shooting out the side of the house and he woke the whole house up and said the house was on fire," said Shaquera Harris, who survived the fire.

Sadly Harris's family's puppy, just a few weeks old, did not survive. Fire officials say the puppy was found dead inside the home curled up in a clothes basket. Ten people survived the fire, seven of them children.

"I was immediately concerned because they have a lot of children and I immediately called 911," said neighbor Kathy Bruce.

Bruce is organizing community help for the Harris family.

Deputy Chief Clay Scoggins of the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department said the fire started when a tree limb hit nearby power lines and cut power off. A family member tried to restart the breaker, he said and soon smoke filling up behind a wall near the electrical panel.  Firefighters were able to keep nearby homes one as close as 15 feet away safe from the flames.

"The emergency breaker caught on fire and set the whole house on fire," Harris said.

High winds didn't do firefighters any favors, but all members of the family four home at the time are OK. The smallest member of the family, their puppy, died of smoke inhalation.

"I feel very sad about but at the same time I thank god all the children are ok," Bruce said.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family. The organization said they need clothes specially for children ages 8 and up. The home suffered significant damage no word yet  the family will ever be able to move back in.

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