Clean up continues after fire at high rise apartment building

Photo Source: Live 5
Photo Source: Live 5
Published: Feb. 16, 2016 at 8:07 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2016 at 10:21 PM EST
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Photo Source: Live 5
Photo Source: Live 5

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Clean up continued Tuesday at a high rise apartment building where a fire broke out.

Charleston firefighters evacuated 155 tenants from the Joseph Floyd Manor Monday night.

Jim Neal was one of them.

"We are on the ninth floor and the water was pouring down through the ceiling. Whatever left there is there. I know our TV got washed out, a brand new TV that's probably gone," Neal said.

Some other residents were more fortunate, they had no damage.

"I'm lucky, we didn't have a lot of water, and I have a lot of furniture, and it was really scary," tenant Shahaz Aghapour said.

"It's pretty scary, not knowing what's going on, everybody's getting rushed out. Everybody's in a state of confusion, trying to figure out what's what," Neal added.

Officials with the Charleston County Housing Authority say the evacuation went smoothly, considering so many people were involved.

Many of the tenants are elderly or disabled.

"It could have been worse. We have an excellent fire department, let me say that first," Authority Board Chairwoman Laura Morris said. "I think we did a real good job of getting everybody out and trying to keep people informed along the way."

Eighty-two residents spent the night at a downtown hotel.

On Tuesday night, some will stay at a church in West Ashley.

Others will stay with family or friends until inspectors say it's safe to move back into their apartments.

Many say they just want to be able to go back home.

"Yeah, that would be nice, real nice," Ken Buck said.

On Monday at 5:14 p.m. emergency crews responded to the apartment building for a possible structure fire on the 10th floor of the 12-story structure. Fire personnel arrived and reported encountering heavy smoke on the 10th floor.

According to CFD officials, the fire was located in the living room area of an apartment with fire sprinklers containing the fire to the apartment.

"The tenant of the fire apartment was treated by EMS and transported to a local hospital," officials said.

CFD officials said an investigation revealed the fire originated at the sofa in the living area of the apartment.

"The ensuing fire activated the fire sprinkler system, the building fire alarm system, and the smoke alarms in the hallway and the elevator lobby area," CFD officials said."The specific cause of the fire is under investigation at this time. The water that controlled the fire affected multiple floors of the structure."

Fire officials said after consultation with the city's building official, it was deemed that the structure needed to be vacated until a full assessment of the buildings electrical, fire alarm, and sprinkler system could be performed.

"Emergency personnel consulted with the Red Cross of SC and the Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority to relocate the residents of the building," authorities said. "The Charleston Marriot graciously accepted the residents to their hotel and residents were transported to the hotel assistance from CARTA."

Approximately 93 residents were relocated to the Charleston Marriott and 58 additional residents were relocated with help from family and friends, a CFD report stated.

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