Porch fire damages apartment

3 mins read

A fire on the porch of a second-story apartment at the Preserve at Port Royal was extinguished before doing major damage on the morning of Friday, Feb. 15.

Around 8:50 a.m., firefighters with the City of Beaufort-Town of Port Royal Fire Department and the Burton Fire District were called to the 1000 building at the Preserve at Port Royal apartment community.

Quick action by Ladder Company 1 from the City of Beaufort-Town of Port Royal Fire Department saved the building. The Port Royal Police Department and additional arriving fire crews worked quickly to evacuate about 10 other residents from the remaining apartments as smoke began to fill the common walkways.

“These fire crews and police officers really did an excellent job cohesively working together and coordinating a total evacuation of people from the building and then worked with management to double-check and account for and evacuate pets that were also in the building,” said Battalion Chief Larry Deloach, who was the incident commander.

Damage was mostly limited to the porch but the heat also broke the windows between the porch and the apartment so there was smoke and minor heat damage inside the apartment along with some water damage. 

Porch fires are an area of concern, according to Deputy Chief of Operations Tim Ogden. 

“At the time these units were constructed the code required a residential sprinkler system, which is in each apartment here,” Ogden said. “However, residential systems are designed by code to save lives by giving occupants time to escape a fire, not fully protect the property. The code did not require a sprinkler head on the porch and these porches are thus unprotected and susceptible to fire damage.”

Without a sprinkler on the porch, it is imperative that a quick response by the fire department occur at the time of fire outbreak and arriving units take appropriate action to stop the spread of fire. 

Fire officials encourage apartment residents to enjoy their porches but to be extra mindful of fire hazards and limit the risk of fire outbreak by not smoking, cooking, or lighting candles or other fires on their porches.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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