PORT ROYAL, SC (WTOC) - A man is receiving treatment at the Augusta Burn Center after a fire at Sea Island Apartments in Port Royal, Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters with the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department responded to the structure fire around 2:15 p.m. to find a four-unit apartment building with fire pushing from the windows and doors from half of the building, and heavy smoke pushing from the rest.
As the four-man engine company went into action, bystanders told them that there were still people in the last apartment. The company officer and two firefighters found the apartment filled with smoke and victims still inside. The engineer used the hose line from the exterior to control the blaze in the other apartments while the rest of the crew conducted the rescues.
The rescue crew went into the apartment to find a wheelchair-bound patient trying to find her way out. Two firefighters helped her to safety while the officer used a thermal imaging camera to search for the other victim. They found the woman just feet away, scooped her up, and carried her outside. Within seconds after arrival, crews located both victims, moved them to safety and treated them for smoke inhalation.
Another male victim who escaped on his own before the firefighters arrived was treated on the scene by Beaufort County EMS and was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital. He was then flown to the Augusta Burn Center for treatment.
Friday, we stopped by the scene and spoke to the son of one of the victims. He says his 92-year-old mother and sister lived in one of the apartments affected by the fire. Despite the tragedy, he's happy they're alive.
"Their unit was so full of smoke that they couldn't even see their way out of there," said Joseph Jacques. "My mother and sister, they both have special needs. My mom is, you know, you know that by their age, and my sister is bedridden, meaning that she can't walk. Somebody busted their door open and said 'y'all need to get out because there's a fire.' Now whomever that was, we don't have any idea who they are or where they are, but I sure would like to thank them."
We've reached out to apartment management to find out if anything can be done for the survivors, but no one has gotten back with us. The question that remains now is how the fire started. Once we get more answers, we'll pass them along to you.
Beaufort/Port Royal firefighters were assisted by the Burton Fire District, the Parris Island Fire Department, Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services, the Port Royal Police Department, and the Red Cross.