Brother rescues sister from fire

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A Walterboro woman was rescued from a house fire by her brother at 709 Hampton Street Wednesday evening July 22 at 8:52 p.m.

Mary Louise McDaniel was in her apartment, located above a garage behind the main house, when the fire broke out. Her brother Jimmy Pontious was down in the garage working on his Jeep Cherokee and stopped to answer a phone call. When he went back into the garage, the vehicle was on fire, said Walterboro Fire Department Chief Paul Seigler.

He ran up the stairs to the apartment and rescued his sister. Her dog, however, hid and couldn’t be found.

Walterboro Fire Department units arrived to find the two-story garage apartment behind the residence fully involved. The residence was “old and made of fat-lighter, so it took off pretty quickly,” Seigler said.

Two vehicles outside the building were also on fire, as well as a large boat and trailer in the neighboring yard and a small outbuilding on the property behind the structure.

The vinyl siding melted on the house next door at 715 Hampton Street. The shed at 116 Charles Street behind the house also caught fire, but while the building was damaged, the contents were saved.

City fire units set up on Charles Street for better access to the fire and requested mutual aid from Colleton County Fire-Rescue. City units deployed multiple handlines, deck guns and set up a ladder truck on Charles Street. County fire units set up on Hampton Street and deployed multiple large diameter handlines to combat the fire and protect exposures. Two 2-1/2 handlines were used and two blitz fire-ground monitors were set up in the back yard. Firefighters used all four available fire hydrants.

Through the team effort, the fire was quickly brought under control and no additional structures were lost. Firefighters were on the scene for about four hours in an outside temperature of 90 degrees.

City Public Works brought a backhoe to the scene to assist in moving the debris so firefighters could extinguish the final hotspots. Walterboro Police managed traffic control.

The home had no insurance and a GoFundMe account has been set up to help McDaniel, who has been battling cancer for two years.

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