Firefighters extinguish blaze in downtown Charleston building
Firefighters extinguished a blaze at a multi-use building in downtown Charleston Thursday morning.
The fire started at a residence above Palace Hotel, a restaurant and bar co-owned by Southern Charm star Shep Rose, at 35 Hanover St. It was reported to Charleston County Dispatch at 4:10 a.m.
"A tenant of [a] rear apartment was alerted to shouting and exited his home to find fire and smoke coming from the windows of the front apartment and the occupant unable to escape due to a security door at the primary entrance," read a news release from the Charleston Fire Department.
According to officials, the tenant from the back apartment, along with staff from the Palace Hotel, discharged fire extinguishers on the flames and forced the security door open to help the occupant escape the apartment.
Officials say all five people in the building were able to get out safely. The man who lived in the front apartment was taken to a nearby hospital.
"Firefighters arrived quickly and went to work immediately to control the emergency," said Deputy Chief of Operations John Tippett. "Crews were faced with the challenges of search, rescue, and suppression, while trying to contain the fire to the original structure. Buildings were located less than 10' on either side of incident, but firefighters acted quickly to contain the blaze, resulting in only minor scorching of the siding of one adjacent structure."
Officials say the fire started in the bedroom of the front apartment. Investigators found multiple electric space heaters there, each powered by extension cords with combustible items close by. While an investigation on the specific cause of the fire continues, officials say, it is believed to be related to the space heaters.
"Portable space heaters are intended to provide a short-term source of heat," said Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh, "and should not be utilized in place of a permanent heating source. Space heaters need to be plugged directly into an electrical outlet, maintained at least 3' from combustibles, and turned off before leaving the area or going to bed. No working smoke alarms were discovered during the investigation into this incident – the results of this fire could have been much more catastrophic."
According to a statement, fire, heat and smoke damaged the front apartment and the roof structure of the building. The rear apartment suffered smoke and heat damage, and the Palace Hotel sustained significant water damage.
Hanover Street from Columbus to Hampden Court and Parts of Columbus were closed that morning as the fire department responded.
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