LOCKHART and UNION — Fire destroyed a house in Union Saturday afternoon and a house in Lockhart early Monday morning.
A report issued by the Union Public Safety Department states that Saturday’s fire involved a house at 105 Lybrand Street. Public Safety personnel and fire trucks were dispatched to the scene along with personnel and fire trucks from the Monarch Fire Department.
The report states that firefighters were dispatched at 1:15 p.m. and when they arrived at the scene they found smoke coming through the roof and windows of the building. It further states that firefights pulled two 1 3/4” and one 3” hoses for fire suppression. The report states that within less than an hour firefighters had the blaze under control and extinguished it, spending the rest of their time at the scene checking for hot spots in the structure. Once they were sure the fire was completely out, firefighters left the scene at 2:35 p.m.
Despite firefighters quickly getting the blaze under control, Public Safety Director Sam White said that the house appears to be a total loss.
White said that it appears the fire was electrical in nature. He said that the residents, who had only been living there about three days, said they’d had electrical problems. White said that attention is being focused on the fuse box. He said that a new circuit breaker had been installed recently. White said that he has been told that the new circuit breaker was not the right type. He said that wiring where the fire originated was between two electric receptacles.
Although the house appears to be a total loss, White said that none of the residents were injured. He said none of the firefighters that responded to the blaze were injured either.
In a statement released this weekend, the American Red Cross announced that its disaster-trained volunteers had assisted the three people displaced by the fire. The press release stated that the Red Cross provided the displaced residents with comfort kits, blankets, and temporary lodging.
The fire in Lockhart occurred around 2 a.m. Monday according to Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon.
Brannon said that his department along with the Kelly-Kelton, Monarch, Buffalo, Philippi, and Jonesville fire departments and the Union County Rescue Squad were dispatched to the fire which he said involved a house at 309 5th Street in the Town of Lockhart.
When they arrived, Brannon said firefighters saw fire coming out through the roof of the house. Brannon said that when firefighters entered the building, they found that the smoke was so thick they couldn’t see. He said they were forced to leave the building when it began to collapse on them. Once outside, Brannon said they began taking defensive measures to keep the fire contained and bring it under control and extinguish it, a process he said wasn’t really completed until a little after 10 a.m. when fireighters were finally able to leave the scene.
Brannon said the house, which had an estimated value of $35,000, is a total loss.
Nobody was home at the time of the fire and none of the firefighters and Rescue Squad personnel were injured according to Brannon. He said that while the house was occupied, the occupants were away at another house they stay at part of the time.
The cause of the fire is unknown at the present time, but Brannon said it appeared it started up in the attic. He said he’s contacted the Union County Sheriff’s Office to have the fire investigated to determine the cause of the blaze.
Brannon said that he and the rest of the Lockhart Fire Department wanted to thank the firefighters from the other departments and the other emergency personnel who assisted in putting out the fire.
In its press release concerning the fire in Union, the Red Cross asked people to check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home. Households should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and at different times of the day. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them monthly and replace the batteries as needed.
In addition to installing smoke alarms and developing an escape plan, the Red Cross suggests making the following home fire resolutions to stay safe in 2016:
• Check electrical appliances before you leave home
• Do not leave food cooking on the stove
• Blow out candles and put out fires before going to bed
• Do not overload electrical outlets
• Use space heaters with care
To help neighbors affected by disasters become a Red Cross volunteer or make a financial contribution to Red Cross by calling 864-271-8222 or visit www.redcross.org/SC.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.