Two separate homes destroyed by cooking fires in Lowcountry

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 2:41 PM EDT
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BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC)- Two fires in Bluffton on Friday left several people displaced, in what the Bluffton Fire Department says is an unusual number of devastating fires for them to see in just one day.

Stephen Combs, the public information officer with the Bluffton Township Fire District, says, ”[Friday] was really quite an unusual day for the Bluffton Township Fire District. We don’t typically see a lot of fires in our area.”

On this particular day, Bluffton firefighters found themselves responding to two fires. The first was in the Woodbridge subdivision in Bluffton, and started around 9:00 in the morning. Flames were visible from the kitchen and attic when crews from multiple stations arrived.

Steven McNulty, who saw the fire, says, ”They were like a well-oiled machine here. There were probably about six or seven firetrucks. Everybody knew their role. They were on it. It was just pretty impressive to watch.”

The people that lived in the home, as well as their pets, were able to get out safely. The victim of the second fire, however, did not.

Not twelve hours after the first fire, Combs says crews were dispatched to a medical emergency, but when they arrived, they found a home visibly on fire. Multiple stations were sent to Cherry Point Road, including some that had responded to the Woodbridge fire earlier in the day.

One man inside the home was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, after calling out for help while still inside the home.

Combs says, ”These types of situations are very taxing mentally. It’s not just a single incident, but a lot of times it’s that compounding effect where you have multiple incidents back-to-back. And we have resources in place for our firefighters to discuss those stressors that they might experience on a daily basis.”

Fire investigators believe that both fires were caused by unattended cooking.

Combs says these situations are a good reminder of the importance of keeping safe while cooking.

“The majority of house fires that we see that start in the kitchen are a result of unattended cooking on the stove, so we just want to encourage people that if you have to leave the kitchen, please turn the stove off so you don’t leave things that could catch fire.”

Combs also adds that people should be sure to check their smoke alarms, keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen- and under no circumstances should you throw water on a grease fire, because it only makes it spread.

Two separate homes destroyed by cooking fires in the Lowcountry Friday.
Two separate homes destroyed by cooking fires in the Lowcountry Friday.(Source: Bluffton Township Fire District)