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Elgin garage fire spreads to other properties
Fire 1
Firefighters (left) work to put out the final flames at an Elgin home in the path of a fire that originated from a welding accident in a garage (below) on Sun Valley Road, Elgin. Officials said wind Monday afternoon was to blame for the flames traveling as far and as fast as they did. - photo by Keri Todd Boyce

A blaze that originated in a Sun Valley Road, Elgin, garage spread down the street to burn multiple garages, workshops, yards, a car and one home Monday afternoon.

An Elgin man was using an oxygen acetylene torch in his workshop, officials said, when an explosion ignited flames.

The hose to the torch was burned off and all the knobs were still in the “on” position by the time David West, the S.C. Forestry Commission’s law enforcement chief, arrived on scene.

The man was airlifted to the Joseph M.Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.

West said the accident happened in the back of a garage on Sun Valley Road and spread in a perfect “V” shape toward Chestnut Road.

“At this point, we’re not sure what he was cutting or what he was working on to cause this,” West said.

Judy Motley said she could see the flames from Pine Grove School, where she works on Chestnut Road.

“Flames were jumping everywhere. It was terrible. One of the scariest sights I’ve seen,” she said.

Firefighters from Blaney, Doby’s Hill, Pine Grove, Lugoff and two Richland County fire departments responded to the fire at 2:40 p.m. More than 30 firefighters reported to the scene.

By 3:30 p.m., the flames were controlled, but not completely extinguished.

Wind was a major factor in the fire spreading so quickly, said Blaney Fire Chief George Marthers.

“The wind is what made this fire tricky, and harder to get under control,” he said

It jumped Chestnut Road, but was stopped before going any further.

“All the firefighters on this did an excellent job,” Marthers said. “This was definitely a situation that could have been a lot worse without help.”

In all, Marthers said, the fire affected around 10 acres of land and caused an estimated $300,000 worth of property damage. Firelighters didn’t leave the scene until 6:20 p.m. that evening.