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Porter Cross Road fire under investigation

LFD, CFD also answer calls Monday, Tuesday

Posted: August 1, 2013 6:50 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2013 5:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of the LFD/

The remains of a former truck stop most recently used for storage on U.S. 601 at Porter Cross Road. Firefighters from several departments responded to a fire there early Wednesday morning. The fire is being investigated by the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office.

A fire at an old truck stop most recently being used for storage is under investigation.

Around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, the LFD assisted the Doby’s Mill Fire Department with a large building fire on U.S. 601 at Porter Cross Road. LFD Chief Dennis Ray said Lugoff Engine 8 arrived on the scene to find a fully involved fire at what he described as an abandoned truck stop.

“Crews from Lugoff, Doby’s Mill, Blaney, Piney Grove and the Columbia Fire Department battled the flames until the fire was put out around 7:20 a.m.,” Ray said.

He said the Kershaw County Fire Marshal’s Office had opened an investigation. A check with Fire Marshal Gene Faulkenberry revealed that the case is now being investigated by the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Jim Matthews had no details on the investigation as of Thursday morning.

The Lugoff and Camden fire departments responded to other calls on Monday and Tuesday. In both cases, damage was kept to a relative minimum; no one was hurt.

Around 11:30 a.m. Monday, multiple units from the LFD, Doby’s Mill and Blaney fire departments responded to a home on Longstreet Road in Lugoff’s Gettysburg subdivision. An ambulance responded as well. The call was for an attic fire with smoke in the two-story home.

Ray said Lugoff Rescue Engine 10 arrived first, followed by Engine 10 and Engine 8.

“(They found) a light haze in the home,” Ray said. “Crews were sent into the attic with thermal imaging cameras. These crews located the source of the fire inside of an air handler for the HVAC.”

He said firefighters shut power off to the unit and made sure it was safe before leaving the scene.

A little more than 24 hours later, on Tuesday, three Camden Fire Department (CFD) trucks responded to the Lafayette Square Apartments north of Camden off U.S. 521. There, they responded to a call of smoke coming out from under the door of a second-floor apartment in the back of the complex.

CFD Asst. Chief Eddie Gardner said a chair ended up smoldering somehow.

“There was just a little flame on the chair. We think it was a smoking accident, but we’re not sure,” Gardner said at the scene. “We’re going to look at it a bit more.”

He said there was little, if any damage.

“A neighbor smelled the smoke, and saw the smoke coming from under the door. It could have gotten real bad, real quick, if they hadn’t noticed,” Gardner said, adding that smoke detectors in the apartment were working correctly as well.

Gardner confirmed witness accounts that no one was home at the time the smoke was noticed by neighbors.

Gardner also pointed out that fire departments across the country respond to an estimated 90,800 smoking-related fires per year, causing 610 civilian deaths, 1,570 injuries and $663 million in property damage. Although he couldn’t conclusively say Tuesday’s fire was smoking-related, he made the following suggestions for preventing such fires:

• If you smoke, smoke outside.

• Use deep, wide ash trays on a sturdy table.

• Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.

• Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants, peat moss, dried grass, leaves or other things that could ignite easily.

• Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.

• Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.

• If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes as they are less likely to cause fires.

• To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you have to be alert -- you won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.

• Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach.

• Never smoke in bed.


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