Flames rip through downtown Charleston homes

(Courtesy: Taylor Williams)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- An orange glow could be seen from Mount Pleasant as crews battled what officials described as a monster fire Thursday morning in downtown Charleston.

A portion of Rutledge Avenue, from Spring Street to Highway 17 was blocked as a result.

Officials said they believe the fire began on the porch of the home at 247 Rutledge and spread quickly.

A spokesperson for the Charleston Fire Department says the fire began at 3:54 a.m.

What was 247 Rutledge Avenue is now gone. Two other homes, 243 and 245 Rutledge were damaged. Also, officials said seven vehicles and one motorcycle were damaged by flames.

Fire crews from St. Andrews, James Island and Charleston worked together to battle the blaze.

"I got up and I could see through our windows the flames in the next house," said Rutledge Avenue resident Fabian Wright. "Our windows started to shatter and the blinds were starting to melt a little bit because of the intense heat."

Wright said he ran out the front door as quickly as possible.

Another resident of the street said he had never seen anything like it in his life.

"Never seen a house go ablaze that quickly," Drew Sams said. "It was a matter of two minutes before that house was on fire."

Residents of neighboring streets said they awoke to the flames and smoke, thinking the fire was in their homes.

"I woke up and thought our house was on fire," said Mike Ghegan.

Ghegan lives on Bogard Street near the Rutledge Avenue intersection.

"The rest of our roommates were panicking," he said. "...I've never been that close to a big fire. Especially that close to where I sleep.

There are no injuries to report. All residents have been accounted for.

As of 1 p.m. on Thursday traffic in the area was still blocked as the fire marshal investigated the scene and SCE&G worked to dig up and cut off gas lines.

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