Cat dead, another survives after someone sets fire to James Island home

(source: Charleston Fire Department)
(source: Charleston Fire Department)
(source: Charleston Fire Department)
(source: Charleston Fire Department)
(source: Charleston Fire Department)
(source: Charleston Fire Department)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Authorities say a cat died after someone intentionally set fire to a house on James Island early Tuesday morning.

It happened at a home in the 1300 block of Mapleton Avenue off Secessionville Road where investigators say the fire was set outside at the back of the house.

Officials with the Charleston Fire Department say one cat died in the early morning fire and another cat found hiding in the home managed to survive.

The two residents managed to leave the house uninjured.

Emergency officials received a 911 call just before 6 a.m. of a house fire on Mapleton Avenue.

When first responders arrived they saw smoke and flames along one side of the one story, single-family residence.

"Fire progressed into the attic space of the home and was spreading across the structure," CFD officials said."Firefighters rapidly entered the structure to control the fire and search for victims."

According to CFD officials, two residents awoke to find the fire and got out of the home without injury.

Members from the Fire Marshal Division responded to investigate the origin, cause, and circumstances surrounding the fire.

"Based on the information provided by the residents, the observations of the first arriving firefighters, and the initial investigation by the fire investigators, it was determined the fire originated on the exterior of the structure and was intentionally ignited," CFD officials said.

Members of the Fire Marshal Division are actively working the scene as a joint investigation with the City of Charleston Police Department.

Investigators would like to speak with anyone who has information regarding the incident or who observed anyone in the area of the 1300 block of Mapleton Avenue.

Investigators may be reached by calling 843-724-5017. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111 or visiting

Neighbor Traywick Birchmore was awakened by his girlfriend.

"Everybody was kind of in a panic mode at that time," Birchmore said. "I ran outside and I come across the street to make sure everything's allright and everybody was out of the house."

Investigators quickly determined the fire started outside in the back of the house and was deliberately set. That news was disturbing to Birchmore and his neighbors.

"We all said the same thing? How did this happen over here, a quiet neighborhood. We don't have no issues, back here everybody knows everybody," Birchmore said.

Folks living here also want to know why the arsonist picked that particular house.

"Never know who could do what. Days and times, you just got to kind of watch your back, like I said it was big shock to us this morning," Birchmore said.

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