Apartment fires show need for renter precautions

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - More than 50 people have been displaced from their apartments in two major complex fires since the beginning of May.

Monday morning, North Charleston firefighters responded to Dorchester Village apartments on Leslie Street for a reported fire.  Crews were able to extinguish the flames within an hour, but eight units were destroyed, according to North Charleston Fire Department Public Information Officer Bianca Sancic.

On May 3rd, 35 people were forced from their home after a fire at the Moss Creek Apartments in West Ashley.

"One of the particular dangers with apartment dwelling is that there are multiple people living in the same building," Sancic said, adding that it can be especially difficult for residents to escape their unit.

Since apartments usually only have one entry way, it is important to consider an escape plan using a window.

"There are some options for how to get out, for example, a window on the third floor," she said.  "They make ladders that roll out of the window and so you can climb down that ladder, which is a possible secondary escape route."

Tenants should also consider purchasing renters insurance – a relatively inexpensive way to cover the value of their belongings, in the event of a disaster.

"The insurance company would ask you to provide a list of things that were damaged in the fire and what those items would cost today to replace them," insurance agent Jules Anderson said.  "You need to be aware that [insurance] is available and price it and say, 'can I afford it? Or can I afford not to have the coverage?'"

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