Crews respond to massive fire at Johns Island construction site

Multiple units from several jurisdictions responded to a large structure fire Wednesday night.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:52 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 4:10 AM EST
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JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials are investigating after a large fire at a construction site on Johns Island Wednesday night.

Charleston Fire Department Chief Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh says crews responded to a massive fire that broke out at a Johns Island apartment complex that was under construction. He says the complex has multiple buildings that are in various phases of construction.

Dispatchers began receiving calls on the fire around 6:15 p.m., Julazadeh said. Multiple units from several jurisdictions responded to the fire along Maybank Highway near Fenwick Hall Allee.

When crews arrived on scene, they found a three-story structure completely engulfed, and the fire was spreading to a second structure. As crews were working to put out the fire in the second structure, Julazadeh says the first building collapsed. He says the fire also spread to a nearby leasing building, but firefighters were able to control it.

The fire department says a firefighter was checked out on scene for possible heat exhaustion, but they were not transported by EMS.

Julazadeh confirmed an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is assisting in the investigation. He did not say if they believe the fire was an accident or intentionally set.

Credit: Jared Nicholas Woodward

While crews responded to the fire, the Charleston Police Department says Maybank Highway was closed in both directions in the area. Stono Bridge was also closed.

“People are not able to use the Stono Bridge to come onto or go off of Johns Island,” the department stated in a tweet.

Police say Maybank Highway was completely closed between Riverland Drive and River Road as well.

The smoke from the fire can be seen from miles away.
The smoke from the fire can be seen from miles away. (Jordan Kohler)

Officials say this is an ongoing investigation, and they will remain on scene through the night.

The Charleston Fire Department is looking for photos and videos from witnesses to help investigators put together a timeline of events. Those can be sent to CFDMedia@Charleston-SC.gov.