Fire at S.C. Medical Building Blamed on Lightning

A lightning strike may have sparked the fire that damaged a Port Royal medical center Friday afternoon, according to the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department.

Firefighters arrived at Fresenius Medical Center on Mossy Oaks Road about 6 p.m. to find smoke pouring from the eaves, Capt. John Robinson said. The fire, which started in the attic, was under control in about 15 minutes and extinguished in half an hour, Robinson said.

Crews remained on the scene until about 9:30 p.m. dousing hotspots, he said.

No one was in the building at the time. Employees told fire officials they lost some power after a lightning strike about 2:30 p.m., and left about 4 p.m. when the power had not returned.

"They didn't smell or see anything odd," Robinson said.

The department was initially concerned the structure held oxygen cylinders, which can intensify a blaze. However, firefighters did not find any such cylinders in the debris, Robinson said.

The department was able to save most of the office's computers and printers, but the structure sustained significant damage, Robinson said. He did not have a cost estimate Saturday.

The Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department was assisted by the Burton Fire District and Lady's Island-St. Helena Fire District.

Robinson said the Burton Fire District also responded to a fire on Azalea Square's Candida Drive about 2:30 p.m. Friday, but additional information was not available from the district.

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©2014 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.)

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