CROSS, SC (WCSC) - A 77-year-old woman perished in a house fire at the Canal Lakes Fishing Camp on Tuesday morning in Cross after her son tried to save her, to no avail.
Family members say Patricia Ham was trapped during the fire at one of two homes which burned on Oakland Drive. She was found dead at the scene.
"It was horrible," says neighbor Barbara Pruitt. "I heard the sirens and came on out and found out she was in the house still."
Pruitt was one of a handful of neighbors who watched helplessly as the fire consumed the house.
"Fire was intense," says Calvin Wages, who showed up at the scene behind the firefighters. "The blazes were about half way up the trees but I heard from other people it was way over the trees."
Laura Jordan lives right behind Ham and her son. She says the fire was so big she thought someone was knocking on her door. Instead, it was the noise of the flames crackling.
"We opened the door and the whole house across the street was in flames and I dropped everything and my purse and started dialing 911," said Jordan.
Jordan spent the morning consoling Ham's son David, who took care of the her at the home on Oakland Drive.
Berkeley County sheriff's deputies said David was able to escape the home and when he tried to get back inside through a window the fire pushed him away.
"You can tell his hair was singed and he had cuts on his hands," said Jordan. "He tried to break the window and get her out but he couldn't get her out."
Moncks Corner Rural Fire Department officials say the homes caught fire around 5:30 a.m. The other home damaged belonged to a Cross firefighter, according to officials at the scene.
The cause of the fire has not been determined and the investigation is ongoing. The State Law Enforcement Division is assisting the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office with the investigation.
A number of other fire departments responded to the scene, including: Cross Fire Department, Eutawville Fire Department, and Eadytown Fire Department.
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