Fire officials and residents clash over response to townhouse fire

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - [if gte mso 9]>

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 Charleston City Fire officials are disputing claims from folks in a Cainhoy neighborhood that it took too long for firefighters to respond to a fire Monday night.

 The fire destroyed a townhouse at Cain Crossing.

Rick Ashman lives right next door to the destroyed townhouse.

Ashman's home has water and smoke damage.

The townhouse complex is in the City of Charleston and served by the Charleston Fire Department.

"Joe Riley has annexed this area and yet he can't protect it," Ashman complained.

"Several neighbors and I were standing out here forty minutes from the time they were called for the fire department to show up."

"It's not their fault. They came from Daniel Island. A lot of this could have been prevented. I think they owe us an apology or an explanation," said Ashman.

City of Charleston officials responded Tuesday afternoon and disputed the claim by Ashman and other residents.

In a statement, the city said records from Berkeley County dispatch show city firefighters got to the fire scene in twelve minutes and 45 seconds in "the midst of a torrential downpour."

Still, the folks living in Cain Crossing say they need more fire protection

"For all the growth on clements ferry road, I think it's real important that we have fire protection," said O'Reilly.

"I mean I've got a fire hydrant right there, but it doesn't do me any good when you don't have a fire truck that can pump water out of it," said Ashman.

The city says it's working on more fire protection for the area, buying land and planning to build a new fire station there.

Mayor Joe Riley the city has identified the land and has begun the design process for the new fire station.

Two firefighters were injured in last night's fire.

We are told a Charleston firefighter suffered a shoulder strain. A North Charleston firefighter suffered heat stress.

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