CFD: Cause of Warren St. fire under investigation

Published: Jun. 4, 2014 at 10:30 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2014 at 9:49 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Fire officials are still trying to pinpoint the cause of an early-morning house fire on Warren Street.

The Charleston Fire Department Fire Marshal Division determined the fire began near the entrance to the carriage house, but has not determined the exact cause of the fire.

Units with the Charleston Fire Department, St. Andrews Fire Department, Charleston Police and Charleston County EMS responded at 6:04 a.m. Wednesday and found a fully-involved carriage house in the rear of a two story home, according to CFD spokesman Ryan Kunitzer. The first fire units arrived on scene within two minutes of the initial dispatch, Kunitzer said.

Firefighters brought the bulk of the fire under control by 6:20 a.m., but stayed on scene to extinguish any remaining hot spots.

An occupant of the main house was home and asleep when the fire began, but was awakened by working smoke detectors and was able to exit the home safely, firefighters say.

Kunitzer says the carriage house sustained heavy fire damage throughout the structure, but that firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the main house or nearby structures. The main house received minor smoke and water damage.

Fire officials say witnesses said they smelled and saw smoke in the area of the carriage house the previous evening but did not call 911.

The carriage house was vacant and under construction at the time of the fire and a renovation project was nearing completion, Kunitzer said.

CFD officials urge citizens to report any unusual odors or visual smoke to 911, whose operators will dispatch emergency responders to investigate the situation. They also urge everyone to maintain working smoke alarms in the home, adding that every level of the home should have a smoke alarm.

Alarms should be tested monthly and batteries should be changed annually, Kunitzer said.

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