Fire-Damaged Building Razed - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/05/04

Fire-Damaged Building Razed

An overnight fire on Savannah's east side destroyed a two-story building that was being renovated. The flames were so intense that neighbors rushed from their homes and heavy smoke blanketed the neighborhood near the intersection of 32nd Street and Waters Avenue.

There were some pretty frightening moments for neighbors, but now they're just happy no one was hurt and the fire didn't damage their property. As for the house that caught on fire, there's not much left. And what was still standing was torn down.

Residents awoke in the middle of the night to find flames pouring out of the house and smoke covering their street. Ennie Maelee lives right next door, and fled from her home of 25 years while firefighters tried to prevent the fire from spreading to her house.

"I just grabbed what I could and ran out," Maelee told us. "I didn't have the chance to think of anything but getting out."

And as firefighters hurried Maelee outside, she says she saw her nightmare come true. "When I came out the door, I saw the fire leaping out the side of the house coming towards my house."

The good news is that firefighters managed to get the fire under control before it spread to Maelee's house or anyone else's, but they were not able to save the building. Fire department spokesman Matthew Staley told us, "The city is demolishing the structure. It's not stable. For the safety of the residents, we're going to have the building razed."

Crews spent all morning demolishing the two-story building.

Maelee she spent the morning gathering her belongings. She says her house did sustain some damage and she is afraid to stay. "I'm not going to live here," she said. "I don't want the ceiling to fall on me."

At this point, firefighters are still investigating what caused the fire. Both firefighters and neighbors say just being here and seeing the blaze, they are surprised and happy that the damage wasn't much worse.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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