Four show dogs and a cat perished in a motorhome fire on Interstate 95 at the 68-mile marker northbound Wednesday morning July 22. But the disaster was made more bearable by local first responders.
At 10:30 a.m., 9-1-1 began receiving multiple reports of a motorhome ablaze near the Exit 68 ramp. The occupants were traveling to a dog show and were transporting several show dogs in the vehicle. They were able to save eight of the animals, before conditions prohibited them from re-entering the burning vehicle.
The driver said they were experiencing mechanical problems and pulled to the shoulder of the roadway, when they noticed flames coming from under the motorhome near the rear wheels. They had very little time to rescue the dogs before the fire engulfed the vehicle.
The first units arrived to find the large vehicle fully involved. Firefighter-paramedics deployed multiple handlines to extinguish the fire. I-95 northbound was shut down completely for 30 minutes, causing traffic to back up eight miles, then reopened to one lane at approximately 11 a.m.
Sharla Foster, one of the people traveling in the RV, said, “I was recently traveling through your county on the way to a dog show in Greenville. The motor home we were traveling in caught fire. We were able to save eight dogs. But we lost four and a cat.
“I want to tell you how very wonderful the first responders were in your county. They were extraordinarily kind and they went above and beyond to render aid and assistance to us.
“The law enforcement officers, the firemen, the paramedics, the people who stopped to give aid before the first responders could get there, all went above and beyond to help us and you can truly be proud of the folks in your county. I will always remember them with great affection. You are very lucky to have such wonderful people as your first responders,” Foster said.
Colleton Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy said all of the couple’s IDs and money burned in the fire. Fire-Rescue personnel tried to find a hotel room, but none would take them with that many dogs. So, they took them to Fire Station 27 and stayed with them until friends from Florida drove up to pick them up.
Firefighters also buried the animals for the owners.
“We are in the service business. We do that stuff all the time,” McRoy said.