1 Sumter Historic District home destroyed, 1 damaged in double house fires

2 adults, 5 children displaced from damaged house


One house was extremely damaged and another destroyed after a fire broke out on a residential property in Sumter Historic District on Friday afternoon.

A neighbor on McQueen Street and Hampton Avenue reportedly called 911 about the blaze in the 500 block of McQueen Street about 2 p.m.

According to Sumter Fire Department Battalion Chief Joey Duggan, the fire and smoke spread to a house next door to the first one.

No one was injured in the incident, including the 25 firefighters who responded — the department’s second major fire of the day.

A massive warehouse on a 400,000-square-foot property filled with carpet fibers and plastic ignited about 4 a.m. Friday, a blaze that was still being fought 12 hours later.

“When we got here [to the residential fires], I was having to bring the air tank truck because we were out of tanks from the first one,” Duggan said.

Two adults and five children all reportedly under the age of 12 were displaced from the residential fires Friday — one family that all lived in the second house, according to South Carolina Red Cross Communications Director Cuthbert Langley.

Johnny Pugh, a neighbor, sat on his front porch Friday watching the scene and having to go inside or duck away from billowing smoke when the wind changed.

“I heard a couple booms, but I was watching the TV and didn’t think anything of it,” he said. “Then, next thing I know, I come out, and there’s all this fire and smoke.”

The fire department was focused Friday afternoon on putting the fire out and salvaging anything from inside and had not yet come to a conclusion on what started the fire, but Pugh said a camper was parked on the side of the first house between the second.

“That’s where the biggest flames were coming from,” he said.

The only signs of an RV or other vehicle by the time the smoke cleared were burnt, bent, melted frames taller than the firefighters sifting through the debris.

The first house was destroyed, Battalion Chief Duggan said.

The extent of the damage to the second house — whether it was a total loss or some of the structure and the family’s contents were salvageable — was not immediately known.

From the street, the roof looked severely affected by smoke. Paneling was peeling off the front of the structure. Windows were broken — from flames or smoke or by firefighters to get inside, it was not visibly clear — and piles of soot covered the floor and spread out into the ramp leading from the front door.

The neighbor, Pugh, said he hasn’t seen anyone live in the first house for a “while now” but that he sees the family come in and out of the home next door.