FLORENCE (WBTW) – West Florence firefighters were called to an early morning apartment fire off Old Ebenezer Road, where rescue crews assisted several residents out of the building due to the fire.
According to a Facebook post from West Florence Fire Department, rescue crews were called to an apartment community, located in the 1100 block of Old Ebenezer Road, around 5:35 a.m. Saturday. West Florence firefighters, along with Florence County Sheriff’s Deputies, arrived on scene and found a fire on the second floor of the apartment complex, according to the post.
Deputies and firefighters went through the building, helping several families out of their apartments. West Florence fire crews responded with two engines, a ladder truck, one rescue truck and approximately 45 firefighters, according to Battalion Chief Dustin Fails. Firefighters were able to control the fire in about an hour. The Florence Fire Department and the Sardis Timmonsville Fire Department also responded to the blaze.
An 85-year-old woman who lives in a first floor apartment was able to get out of her burning home safely Saturday morning. Neighbors call her Ms. Mary and said she’s well known in their community. Ms. Mary said she had never seen anything like it.
“I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what was going on really, it scared me,” said the 85-year-old.
Ms. Mary said she was in bed about to get ready for church when she heard a noise and saw flashes of light from outside of her window. She said the fire came right up to her back patio door.
“I just wondered how I was going to get out,” said Ms. Mary. “It just scared me pretty bad.”
Battalion Chief Dustin Fails said crews arrived on scene to find fire coming through the roof and at least 17 apartments were damaged. Fails said the fire likely started in the back of the apartment complex which is where Ms. Mary’s apartment is located.
Ms. Mary said the flames were bright and burning high, she said she didn’t know if she would be able to get out on her own.
“Stuff was just falling all over the place in the hallway, I couldn’t have gone out there,” Ms. Mary said.
Ms. Mary immediately thought to turn on her bedroom lamp so rescuers would see she was inside of her apartment.
“These little guys had come and just kick that door in and he carried me out of there, I didn’t even have time to pick up my pocket book,” laughed Ms. Mary.
The Red Cross was on scene along with the fire department and said they will make hotel arrangements for displaced residents like Ms. Mary and Ashley Blue.
Ashley Blue lives in an apartment in the front of the burned building and said she was the last one out.
“They finally had to bust the door open because I guess we were just sleeping so hard,” said Blue.
She said she ran outside to see her building was up in flames. Blue said the firefighters told her to grab her shoes and to get out, she said she forgot to grab her cat and knows her apartment was damaged by the fire.
Fire officials said they were able to get everyone out of the building safely. The Florence County Sherriff’s office is investigating the cause of the fire.