Apartment House Demolished After Fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/30/03

Apartment House Demolished After Fire

The house was so gutted... The house was so gutted...
...the city ordered it demolished. ...the city ordered it demolished.

Six men have no place to stay after a fire destroyed their home. Just after 2am this morning, a two-story apartment house caught fire on Kline and Florance Streets in Savannah. Flames shot out of the windows and the roof, and by the time firefighters got there, it was too late. Part of the building had already collapsed.

They did manage to pull the four people who were at home at the time out of the house to safety.

Fire investigators say it was an electrical problem because of the house being so old. Now a demolition site is all that's left of this house neighbors say was an important part of their history. Alderman David Jones recalled, "Every kid in the neighborhood grew up in this store, spending nickels and dimes."

What was once a store, and then a home, became a roaring inferno early this morning. Firefighters battled the flames that spread so quickly, setting surrounding cars on fire and burning live electrical wires. Officials say there was no way to save the building once the fire started. "It was very old dry wood, plaster," explained Chief Stephen Miller of Savannah FD. "There was a lot of dry fuel that helped the fire spread rapidly."

The fire gutted the house so badly that city code officials ordered an emergency demolition. Housing code enforcer James Chandler told us, "The building is unstable. It's a public safety issue and it has to come down.

And while the building came crashing down, Alderman Jones says it will always hold memories from his childhood. "Men played checkers where the trash receptacle is. People used to come from all over to watch them play checkers," he recalled.

Thankfully no one was hurt in the blaze and the six men that were displaced are now receiving help from the Red Cross.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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