Coroner identifies man killed in Dorchester County home fire

Coroner identifies man killed in Dorchester County home fire

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Authorities have identified a man who died in a fire caused by a space heater at a Dorchester County home early Monday morning.

The Dorchester County Coroner's Office says 68-year-old Wilmer Howard Summers died in the fire. His body has been transported to MUSC for an autopsy.

"The SC Law Enforcement Division, Dorchester County Fire Rescue, Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, and the Dorchester County Coroner's Office are investigating," the coroner's office said.

According to Dorchester County government officials, the fire happened at a home on the 1500 block of Community Drive in Reevesville.

Crews with the Dorchester County Fire-Rescue received an alarm for a residential structure fire at 1:38 a.m.

"Crews arrived on-scene within minutes, to find a double-wide mobile home engulfed with heavy smoke and fire," county officials said. "Extreme heat, fire, and smoke conditions forced firefighters to attack the fire from a defensive position. After suppressing the fire, a full search of the residence was completed. One citizen perished in the fire."

It took firefighters 45 minutes to bring the fire under control.

Dorchester County EMS and the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office also responded to the scene.

"A space heater has been ruled the cause of the fire," county officials said."No other injuries were reported. The American Red Cross is assisting two displaced residents."

County officials released the additional following information.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 40 percent of home heating fires and 84 percent of home heating fire deaths involve space heaters. Buying a safe space heater is only half the battle, using it safely is the other half. Below are a few Do's and Don'ts to keep in mind when using space heaters.


Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards.

Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper use.

Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.

Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.

Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

Turn the heater off if you leave the area.


Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.

Don't place a space heater close to any sleeping person.

Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.

Don't use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.

Also, be sure to place smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Guard against carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings as well by installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Make sure that your batteries in all alarms are fresh and working.

Citizens are also reminded to ensure they have, working, lifesaving smoke alarms in their residence. All Dorchester County residents can request a smoke alarm be inspected and/or installed in their home by completing the online request form and/or by contacting DCFR Headquarters at (843) 563-0214.

Note: Residents who live in the municipal limits of the City of North Charleston or the Town of Summerville should contact their respective departments, who operate similar programs.

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