Two more firefighters transported to hospital following Charleston house fire

Picture provided
Picture provided
Picture provided
Picture provided
Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Source: CFD
Source: CFD

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials announced Friday night that two more firefighters were transported to the hospital for heat related issues following a house fire in downtown Charleston.

The fire was at a historic Charleston home on 48 Smith Street where multiple fire departments responded.

Officials with the Charleston Fire Department said crews will remain on scene throughout Friday night to control hot spots.

A total of four firefighters have been transported for heat related issues following the Friday afternoon fire.

First responders observed that the fire had spread throughout the building when they arrived at 3:23 p.m., three minutes after an emergency call came in.

Pictures and video from the scene showed most of the smoke was coming from the top of the structure.

According to Charleston Fire officials, the initial first two firefighters were transported as a precautionary measure due to the heat.

"We have two firefighters that were transported for heat related injuries and several others are being evaluated," said CFD Fire Chief John Tippett. "The heat index is about 101."

Authorities also said a resident was taken to the hospital for minor injuries after she re-entered the building to get her cat.

"We did have one occupant that broke through the fire line and ran back into the structure," Tippett said.

Officials say the woman is fine, but did not know if the cat survived the fire. The woman has since been released from the hospital.

According to Tippett, there were no reports of anyone inside the structure at the time of the fire. Residents say young adults and college students live in the house.

Tippett said crews were evaluating the structure for collapse potential since the building had been burning for some time.

CFD officials say they are investigating the cause of the fire.

Mayor John Tecklenburg was also on scene and commended the firefighters for quickly responding and controlling the fire.

According to Tippett, the department has been rotating work crews every 15 to 20 minutes due to the hot temperatures.

"It's very unusual to have back to back fires like that in downtown," Tippett said."But again it was a fire that was well advanced when we arrived. Some of the crews of that fire came here to work this fire."

CFD officials said they don't know yet if there's a connection between the two fires.

Community responds to fire

"We came outside and it was just totally white and couldn't see anything," Price Wright lives just a few doors down from the building that caught fire Friday afternoon, and could believe what she was seeing.

"Oh, my goodness I do hope people got out," Wright said.

Wright was just one of dozens of neighbors watching firefighters take down the flames with water hoses coming from all directions.

One woman, Annie Mullen, said as she was watching the house go up in flames she saw a woman who lived there panicked for her cat who she said was on the third floor.

"I saw this girl drive up and she was driving kind of frantically and got of her car and ran down the street and I had my two dogs and she kind of looked at me over here crying and she said my kittens in the house and I just my heart went out to her," Mullen said.

Fire officials said a woman did try to get back inside to save that little cat.

"We did have one occupant who broke the fire line to get back into the structure and she did make it into the building," Tippet said.

"You start tearing up because I was just haunted by the thought of her kitten and all these people are watching. I couldn't imagine coming home to t that so it's scary thinking of what they're going through and thinking how painful it was for them," said Mullen.

The woman's heartbreak for her cat haunted her even after the woman was taken for medical attention after trying to get inside the home, and did what she could to try and comfort her in her lowest time.

"I saw where her car was parking so I just went back in the house and after looking for her a couple trips back here I decided to leave a note on her car and say I'm your new friend, introduced myself and wrote that I have plenty of spare clothes and a room if you need a place to stay," said Mullen.

During Friday afternoon's press conference, fire officials said they weren't aware of any pets being found.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.