Goose Creek couple loses home in lightning strike fire
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCSC) - Dave Ferguson was in the finished room over the garage and his wife, Kim, was in a the bedroom of their Goose Creek home when they heard a loud bang and felt their house shake at around 10 p.m. Friday.
Kim came out of the bedroom, telling Dave she smelled something burning. Dave went downstairs to check the fuse box, but nothing seemed wrong.
Suddenly, Kim saw smoke coming from upstairs and Dave grabbed two fire extinguishers. He put out the flames along the baseboard and curtains of the front bedroom.
They thought it was all over.
Screaming, yelling and banging then came from the front door. It was their neighbor, Bob Swanson.
“So, I went up to their door and rang the doorbell, pounded on the door, slapped the windows,” Swanson said. “I was shouting and yelling, you know, ‘David, Kim you got a fire out here.’ And I don’t know how long, it wasn’t all that long, and Kim opened the door, and I told her what was going on.”
Kim and Dave evacuated the house wearing bathrobes as flames started coming from the roof above the front door. Dave used the hose at the front porch to try to put the fire out, but the flames grew too high for him to reach.
At around 10:17 p.m., Bob called 911 as the flames came out of the eaves and the attic. Rain poured down.
Dave said he was so overwhelmed, he forgot their dog, Uno, was inside. Kim says she noticed right away.
“I didn’t think about Uno while all of this was going on,” Dave said. “It was just too much for me to fathom. He always followed her. It didn’t matter where she went, he was on her foot. If he wasn’t following her, he was following me.”
Uno was hidden in the finished room over the garage and did not survive.
At around midnight, Kim began making phone calls to hotels to find a place to sleep. She mades a reservation at the Quality Inn on Arco Lane in North Charleston.
However, when the couple arrived, they were denied service.
“‘Your reservation has been canceled.’” Dave said. “I said, ‘How could it be canceled? It was just made like 30 minutes ago.’ She said, ‘Do you have your driver’s license?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ I showed her my driver’s license and she said, ‘You’re local. We don’t rent to locals.’ I said, ‘Ma’am, my house burnt down. I have no place to put my wife.’”
When asking the general manager of the Quality Inn why they were denied service, he said the hotel’s policy is to deny service no locals who live within a 30-mile radius. He says if they had shown more proof there was a fire, like a police report, they would have been more accommodating.
He declined a request to appear on camera.
The Fergusons went to seven different hotels before finding a place to stay.
Since then, they have received an immense amount of support from neighbors and the community through clothing and cash donations.
“This is, to me, although we lost everything, is a good news story because it highlights the good in people,” Kim said. “They don’t have to know you. They know that your situation just went from happy to all heck.”
“We have anonymous cash donations,” Dave said. “They didn’t want to be recognized.”
“Right,” Kim said. “They’re not doing it for recognition. They’re doing it to help.”
The couple’s friend’s daughter started a GoFundMe page to help them out during this difficult time. The Fergusons say they are incredibly grateful for everyone who has given them support.
As of now, Dave says they may be able to rebuild the home from the bottom floor up or may have to rebuild it completely. He says it will be a few more months before they can get their home back.
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