by Stacy Jacobson
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- Six apartments homes were damaged by a massive fire Monday morning in Goose Creek.
The call came in around 8:30 a.m. for a fire at S&K Apartments on Farm Road off of St. James Avenue. Goose Creek Fire Department Chief Steve Chapman said the fire destroyed six units. He said it took crews an hour and a half to extinguish the flames.
"This is a 12-unit apartment complex and we contained it to six units. It was a pretty good sized fire," Chapman said.
Chapman also said an ambulance took one female resident to the hospital, after she inhaled a lot of heat and smoke.
Witnesses said several pets died in the fire, including several of one resident's cats. Rescue crews gave oxygen to one pet rat. An Animal Control official said he saved one cat.
Chapman said he doesn't know how the fire started, but said it did not appear to be drug related. He also said it started in one apartment, and then spread to the attic in other units.
Gwen Ferguson and her daughter, 11, were homeless until they finally moved into a place of their own two months ago at S&K Apartments. That apartment burned down in Monday morning's blaze.
"I don't even know how to tell her because she's kept up her grades so well from being on the streets and living in the car so much," she said.
Kelsey Babb said she guided her brother out of the complex because he didn't have time to put on his glasses. Paramedics put her in the ambulance with her neighbor — the woman who lived in the apartment where it started.
"She said she didn't see much of what happened but she said all her cats were in there. If you ask me, it was probably an oven because none of the appliances in there work that well," Babb said.
Most neighbors said the complex was usually quiet. They knew the fire could have caused worse damage.
"I'm just thankful – thankful all these people are here, thankful I got out, thankful my brother got out. Other than that, all the rest is replaceable," Babb said.
Ferguson said she was also happy to be alive. But, she also dreaded telling her daughter they're homeless, again.
"For me to tell her this is just going to be devastating for her," she said.
The Red Cross said seven apartments were affected, displacing 11 people. Volunteers said five of the units were destroyed. The families will be given temporary shelter and financial help to replace food and medicines lost in the fire.