Update: Woman killed in Berea house fire | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | December 20, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: December 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm
An elderly Smoaks area woman lost her life in the early morning hours of Dec. 13 as flames swept through her home.
Chief Deputy Colleton County Coroner Richard Carter said that the woman, Margaret Myers, 71, of 3053 Berea Road, Smoaks, died as a result of burn injuries.
The call came into the 911 emergency dispatch center Dec. 13 at 6:20 a.m., the caller advising that a woman was trapped and the whole house was on fire.
The home is located in a rural area approximately seven miles west of the town of Smoaks near Bamberg County.
An off-duty Colleton battalion chief who lives a few miles from the scene was the first to arrive, reporting that approximately 70 percent of the single-story wood frame dwelling was burning and a portion of the roof had already collapsed.
The woman’s son told the battalion chief that his mother was wheelchair bound and identified the bedroom where she was located. The son had made several attempts to reach her, but was driven out by the intense smoke and heat.
A second battalion chief, who was enroute to the Fire Academy in Columbia, arrived while they were talking. The two chiefs had air packs in their vehicles, geared up and made an attempt to rescue the woman from the rear of the home before the fire units arrived.
They broke the back bedroom window and were halfway into the bedroom when the room flashed over and the flames forced them to exit the building.
The first fire engine arrived a short time later. A deck gun was used to knock down the flames and multiple hoses were deployed as firefighter-paramedics attempted to bring the fire under control. The home had a heavy fireload which intensified the flames.
Crews worked for nearly 45 minutes to gain control of the fire.
Firefighters located the woman’s body near the rear of the structure in her bedroom.
A pickup truck in front of the home was also destroyed.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the State Fire Marshal’s Office were also notified and sent personnel to the scene. Their involvement in the fire investigation is standard procedure in a fire that involves a death, Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy explained.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Fire units were on the scene for approximately eight hours.
“The family and neighbors prepared lunch for firefighters and brought it to the scene. The gesture was greatly appreciated by crews,” said McRoy.