Investigation Continues in Fatal Blaze - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/13/02

Investigation Continues in Fatal Blaze

Early this morning. Early this morning.
Today. Today.

A fire ripped through a two-story house on Savannah's west side early this morning and killed three people, including a four-year-old boy. It happened 1000 block of West 38th Street. Ten people had lived in the house, but after the fire was put out, only seven survived.

Fire investigators say the fire started in an upstairs bedroom, but they still don't know what started it. While firefighters were able to put the fire out fast, it was the smoke that ended up doing the most damage. All people inside suffered from smoke inhalation, and two older women and the boy died from it.

There is no word yet on how this started. Investigators say it could take a number of days before they know.

Before firefighters even arrived, a number of neighbors got involved, either giving victims CPR or helping victms off the roof of the house. Firefighters say without their help, the tragedy could have been much worse.

David Lukata is a carpenter who lives right across the street from the family. He was in the right place at the right time, and had the guts to do the right thing.

"I saw the fire gushing out of the upstairs house across the street, and I heard some people hollering and screaming, yelling, 'help, help, help!'" Lukata recalls.

Immediately, and without thought for his own safety, Lukata went to work. Because he's a carpenter, he works with ladders. He grabbed one from the side of his house and one off his truck and put them both up to the second-floor window.

"We immediately tried to bring the children out," said Lukata. "I kept hollering for more neighbors to come, but no one could hear me because it was raining."

Lukata's wife, Sharon, called 911, but by the time firefighters arrived, David and his neighbors had already rescued two adults and three children, including a tiny baby.

"My son brought the baby to me and I told him the baby wasn't breathing," said neighbor Helen Hudson. "I turned the baby over and started a little CPR and called my husband when i saw EMS arriving to please take the baby to them."

Lukata, who has five children himself, says the children's safety was his only concern.

"At that time, the only thing I could think about was the fact that they were burning so severely, that if we didn't get those people out, they were going to burn up. That's what I went up there for, to get them out," he said. "Anybody would do that. Anybody would help. Anybody with a conscience of God in the heart and mind would have helped."

Reported by: Elizabeth Garcia, egarcia@wtoc.com, and Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

  • NewsNewsMore>>

  • Annual jazz concert raises money for children's day camp

    Annual jazz concert raises money for children's day camp

    Sunday, June 17 2018 7:20 PM EDT2018-06-17 23:20:32 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    Folks took time to enjoy the smooth sounds at Congregation Mickve Israel on Sunday evening for the second annual Benefit Jazz Concert. The concert raises money for Camp Lighthouse, a day camp for children. The event featured Teddy Adams and a quartet. The event also honored numerous people. Among them was Rabbi Robert Haas, members of Congregation Mickve Israel, Fathers Mark Ross and Daniel Firmin and members of St. James Catholic Church. Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights res...

    More >>

    Folks took time to enjoy the smooth sounds at Congregation Mickve Israel on Sunday evening for the second annual Benefit Jazz Concert. The concert raises money for Camp Lighthouse, a day camp for children. The event featured Teddy Adams and a quartet. The event also honored numerous people. Among them was Rabbi Robert Haas, members of Congregation Mickve Israel, Fathers Mark Ross and Daniel Firmin and members of St. James Catholic Church. Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights res...

    More >>
  • Lowcountry firefighters spend Father's Day battling house fire

    Lowcountry firefighters spend Father's Day battling house fire

    Sunday, June 17 2018 6:16 PM EDT2018-06-17 22:16:27 GMT
    (Source: Burton Fire Dept.)(Source: Burton Fire Dept.)

    Firefighters across Beaufort County spent their Father's Day in the heat and humidity battling a house fire that nearby neighbors say could have been caused by a lightning strike.  Burton and Port Royal firefighters were dispatched after taking a call for a house fire at Market Street in the Habersham development just before 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Crews arrived to fire billowing from the roofline of a three-story building.  The Lowcountry heat and humidity began to take its ...

    More >>

    Firefighters across Beaufort County spent their Father's Day in the heat and humidity battling a house fire that nearby neighbors say could have been caused by a lightning strike.  Burton and Port Royal firefighters were dispatched after taking a call for a house fire at Market Street in the Habersham development just before 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Crews arrived to fire billowing from the roofline of a three-story building.  The Lowcountry heat and humidity began to take its ...

    More >>
  • Father's Day showers expected until late evening

    Father's Day showers expected until late evening

    Sunday, June 17 2018 5:58 PM EDT2018-06-17 21:58:11 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    Relaxing outside this Father's Day afternoon? Showers and thunderstorms will continue drifting across the Coastal Empire and Low Country into the early evening hours. Since these storms aren't moving fast, you can expect water to collect on roadways if you're caught under a downpour. The good news is that we will be much drier by sunset, meaning your dinner grilling plans are still a go! 

    More >>

    Relaxing outside this Father's Day afternoon? Showers and thunderstorms will continue drifting across the Coastal Empire and Low Country into the early evening hours. Since these storms aren't moving fast, you can expect water to collect on roadways if you're caught under a downpour. The good news is that we will be much drier by sunset, meaning your dinner grilling plans are still a go! 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly