Fire Burns Through Mobile Home, Killing One - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/23/05

Fire Burns Through Mobile Home, Killing One

The holiday weekend got off to a deadly start this morning in the Low County. It's not the way Burton firefighters wanted to begin the Christmas weekend, working a fire that ripped through a mobile home, killing the man who lived there.

A neighbor says the fire woke her up around 12:30am. That's when she heard a noise that sounded like a car door slamming, but when she looked out her window, she saw smoke and flames. In the few seconds it took to call 911, she says the fire spread.

"Upon arrival, neighbors reported there was a possible entrapment," Chief Harry Rountree of the Burton Fire District told us. "So right away, we deployed hard lines and started extinguishing the fire as quickly as possible and searching the unburned portion of the structure."

Firefighters quickly found 52-year-old Arthur Milton's body.

"Obviously it's something we strive not to have, and we work very hard with fire prevention and things like that to make sure these fire fatalities don't occur," said Chief Rountree. "It's been many years since we've had one."

Battling frigid temperatures as well as the fire, Chief Rountree says his firefighters did exactly what they're trained to do. "They were aggressive in trying to do what they could and I'm very proud of them."

Investigators are still looking into what started the fire. They do say they found space heaters and a kerosene heater near Milton's body.

Milton's body has been sent to Charleston for an autopsy. The investigation has been turned over to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. We'll keep you updated.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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