The Burton Fire District, Beaufort/Port Royal, and Parris Island Fire Departments responded to a July 18 house fire in which a family of five escaped in what fire officials described as “in the nick of time.”
Just after 8 p.m., Burton and Beaufort/Port Royal firefighters responded to a reported house fire on Baynard Road off of Savannah Highway. Fire crews arrived and reported gray smoke coming from all openings in the home.
Firefighters extinguished the fire quickly and limited the fire damages, but the home suffered extensive smoke damage.
A homeowner said she saw smoke coming from an air vent, evacuated her family, and called 911. Burton veteran firefighter Nick D’Angelo, who was first to arrive, said the smoke turned from gray to dark black in seconds, which is a sign that firefighters use to determine when a small growing fire is becoming explosive.
“I’ve never seen smoke turn so black so quickly,” D’Angelo said.
Fire officials said the family’s escape and firefighters’ quick response was just in time to stop the black smoke, which firefighters describe as unburned/heated fuel, from completely erupting in flames and destroying the home.
The Red Cross was notified to assist the family of three adults and two children. No injuries were reported. The Parris Island Fire Department was also requested to assist at the scene. The fire is believed to have been caused by a malfunctioning air handler.
The Burton Fire District has responded to more than 30 building fires so far in 2018.