Councilman calling for investigation after fire chief, truck respond to fire

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Berkeley County councilman is calling for an investigation of a fire department after only the chief and a small fire truck showed up to fight a fire.

The fire destroyed the home on Skyrocket Lane near St. Stephen Saturday morning.

Eighty-six-year-old Isaac Milligan and his wife barely escaped with their lives.

"It happened so fast, she comes outside with no shoes, just her pajamas on," Milligan said Monday.

The home is served by the Pineville Russellville Fire Department. The department is made up of volunteers.

The fire station is located less than a half-mile from Milligan's home.

Marty Housand, who witnessed the fire, says at first only the fire chief responded, driving a small fire truck that doesn't carry a lot of water.

"Bringing a bush truck to a structure fire is like having the Lowcountry Oyster Festival and having one port a let," Housand said.

Volunteers from the Bonneau and the St. Stephen fire departments had to come from several miles away to help fight the fire.

"If we don't have the manpower we need to back up and look what we're doing and try to revamp it because one life is too many to lose," Housand said.

Housand contacted Berkeley County Councilman Ken Gunn.

"In this case the county needs to find out what happened," Gunn said. "Primary concern with this one is  that the fire department is approximately 200 yards from the house and we just need to find out why they were unable to respond in a more timely manner."

Gunn also wants a review of all fire services in the county.

We went to the fire chief's home for a comment but no one answered the door.

Fire victim Milligan also has some questions.

"When people's lives are at stake we should have a little more responsibility and try to do the right things," Milligan said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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