Colleton County Fire-Rescue


Stations 7, 17, 18 and 23 responded to a house fire at 402 New Street in the Town of Smoaks at 1908, Friday evening 8-January. Engine 7 arrived within minutes to find smoke coming from under the single family wood frame dwelling. A neighbor was using a garden hose to spray water under the home through a vent opening while other neighbors were removing furnishing from the house. A quick assessment revealed light smoke inside the home with moderate smoke coming from under the structure. No fire was visible.  The neighbor advised he could see flames under the house when he arrived and used the garden hose in an attempt to extinguish the fire. Firefighters deployed an 1-3/4 handline, removed several bricks  and directed a stream in the area the man indicated. The smoke conditions worsened. Additional crews meanwhile searched the interior of the home but could not locate the source of the smoke. The crawl space under the home only provided about 12 inches of space, preventing personnel from crawling under the home.

Interior crews used a Thermal Imager to re-search the interior and located a heavy heat signature in a hallway wall. Firefighters breached the wall with an axe, finding smoke and heat in the wall. Several pieces of furniture were moved in the adjacent room revealing a small hole burned through the floor behind a

gun cabinet and in the area of the heat signature. Firefighters removed the carpet from the area and used a chainsaw to cut an inspection hole in the floor. This revealed the fire under the floor. A larger four by five foot section of the floor was then cut away to allow access to the crawl space. A strong LP smell was discovered under the residence. Interior Firefighters used an 1-3/4 handline to extinguish the fire under the house which had burned several floor joists and burned through the home’s center support beam and into the wall. Most of the fire damage was contained to this area under the house. The inside of the home suffered very little smoke and no heat damage. All personal items were saved. A small LP gas line was found to be broken in the area where the fire was found. The tank had already been secured to contain the leak. Firefighters remained on the scene for over an hour.

Engine 7, Engine 18, Tender 7, Tender 17, Tender 18, Medic 18, Battalion 1 and Truck 12 responded. Battalion Chief Dan Barb served as Incident Commander.