Firefighters with the City of Charleston Fire Department responded to a fire in downtown Charleston this morning just after 3:30 a.m., according to Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh. The alarm company reported an automatic fire alarm at a residential short-term rental property on Spring Street. Emergency responders from the Charleston Fire Department were dispatched to the alarm and arrived in less than three minutes, according to Julazadeh.
Additional information was provided by a 911 caller advising that a fire had occurred in the kitchen and the incident was upgraded to a structure fire, sending additional resources from Charleston, North Charleston, and Saint Andrews Fire Departments, Charleston County EMS, and the Charleston Police Department, he said. Emergency responders arrived to a four story building, that included retail sales on the first floor and a three story rental unit above, as the tenants were self-evacuating. Responders searched the property, verified the fire was contained by the fire sprinkler system, controlled the water flow from the sprinkler, and ventilated the building. Investigators from the Fire Marshal Division Fire Investigation Team responded to the scene to review the incident.
The home was occupied at the time of the emergency and the residents woke to the sound of the activated fire alarm, he said. Occupants discovered the fire in the kitchen area and noted an activated fire sprinkler, called 911, and utilized a fire extinguisher to further suppress the fire. The occupants then proceeded out of the building as the fire department arrived on scene. Investigators determined the fire originated within the kitchen trashcan and was likely caused by discarded cooking items.
“A number of critical fire safety elements were instrumental in providing for the safety of the occupants and minimizing the damage to the building,” said Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh. “First, fire inspections were previously completed as part of the approval process of the rental in order to verify code compliance and maintenance of the fire protection systems. Second, the fire alarm system detected the incident, alerted the occupants, and provided automatic notification to 911. Third, the fire sprinkler system contained the fire and prevented a significant loss to the property or the adjoining properties that are in close proximity. All of these components created a life safety system that prevented injury and minimized the potential loss.”