External fireplace to blame for Dutch Island house fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

External fireplace to blame for Dutch Island house fire


A home on Wild Thistle Lane was almost completely destroyed by fire Monday morning.

Officials are now taking a look at what's left of the house, finding new information about what likely caused the fire.

Neighbors and fire officials say it started in a fire pit in the backyard, and quickly spread to the rest of the home

The two people who live in the home were notified by people passing by that there was smoke. The homeowners quickly asked for help from neighbors as they waited for firefighters to arrive.

"They said can you grab a hose, the back of our house is on fire," said neighbor Scott Stroop.

Stroop said they helped the homeowners do all they could to contain the blaze, but it was spreading quickly.

"It was pretty hot when we got to it, I mean, we couldn't do anything with those little hoses, we couldn't get close enough to get enough water on it," he said.

Once firefighters arrived at the scene the home was fully engulfed.

"We made a defensive attack first, which means it was too dangerous to go inside," said Jim McClain, Captain, Isle of Hope Volunteer Fire Department.

"The flames were coming all up the back and through the roof," said Stroop.

The two homeowners and neighbors, all stood outside and watched as firefighters worked to contain the blaze. They weren't able to save much of the home.

"It just got inside the house, and up in the attic and it was, I mean, it's totaled on the back. There's holes all in the back and everything," Stroop said.

But crews did salvage some of the valuables inside.

"We were able to protect a lot of the personal property that really means a lot to people," McClain said.

The home on Wild Thistle Lane is almost completely destroyed. Fire crews say it's all because a chiminea - or external portable fireplace heater, that was left on and sitting on a wooden deck.

"You should not put them on wooden decks. Never ever put them on wooden decks," McClain said.

"It's sad," said Stroop. "I mean, we've seen them host weddings there on the back porch for family before. It's real sad."

The fire chief says at least 90 percent of the home is destroyed. The homeowners will likely have to completely rebuild.

Neighbors say they'll chip in any way they can, helping the homeowners with food, clothes, and a place to stay if they need it.

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