Signs of hope after James Island house fire rocks hundreds

Signs of hope after James Island House fire impacts hundreds

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Beth Hyams can breathe a sigh of relief today.

A family cat, thought dead, walked out of the rubble just days after the devastating fire that destroyed much of her James Island home.  

No one was hurt in that fire.

Said Hyams of the last 48 hours, "They've almost been surreal."

"It was the room I used to hang out in. That was just my room. Everything was in its place."

Hyams said the fire started in the home's sunroom, the place she described as her personal escape.

The room also housed costumes for the Charleston Youth Company, a non-profit performing arts group preparing for it's annual spring show at the Sottile Theater.

Hyams works as the company costume designer.

"How could someone who is so loving and caring, how could these kind of things happen," said director Chuck Long.

"She had just come Monday night to do the final fittings for the kids."

Also lost in the fire was a wedding dress.  Hyams was prepared to convert it into a communion gown for the daughter of Company choreographer Lola McDonald.

"I hated to even talk to her," she said. "I was so heartbroken that her dress was gone."

"We've had different costumers over the years," Long said.  "Beth is by far the most outstanding costumer I've had."

Parents and volunteers have rallied around the Hyams family since hearing of the crippling news.  They're working to organize sewing parties to revamp many of the costumes, while others have called in with support.

Said company director Chuck Long, "Tragedies happen everyday in our lives, but as long as we can look forward to the good things in our lives, we've got hope for the future."

For more information on the Charleston Youth Company, visit

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