Fire Hits South Carolina Historic District

Just before the holidays, the City of Beaufort Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at the Beaufort's Historic District at 4:55 a.m. Dispatch reported the caller was over half a mile away and could see the flames. The first engine arrived on scene at 4:59 to find a two-story professional building with heavy smoke and flames showing.

Beaufort's Rescue 1, Engine 1, Tower 1, Engine 10, was part of the initial response as well as Engine 5, Tower 2 from Port Royal and Burton Fire District Engine 821 on automatic aid. ALS service was provided by Beaufort County EMS.

More then 68 personnel were on scene.

Rescue 1 assumed incident command and a transitional attack was first declared. The crews of Engines 1 and 12 established water supplies and deployed multiple hand lines. Engine 821 personnel established R.I.T team.

This two-story building was in the historic district of the city and was built in the late 1700s. It was determined the building was unoccupied. Incident stabilization and exposure protection became the top concern. The building had no sprinkler or automatic alarm system which put firefighters at a disadvantage from the start.

Crews attempted an interior attack but quickly determined the building was unstable, and a defensive attack was assumed. Towers 1 and 2 established their own water supplies, and crews used aerial devices to help control the spread of the fire.

Firefighters where on scene for a total of 15 hours. No injuries were reported. The fire is still under investigation at this time. The loss is estimated to be in excess of $1 million.

Using the media's attention on this fire, City of Beaufort fire officials are successfully using it as an informational and educational tool for other businesses on the importance of sprinkler and monitored alarm systems.

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