Could suspicious downtown fire be arson?


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- 22-year-old Jamie Bowers was shocked when she received a picture of ashes on her cell phone from her roommate. The picture was of the porch area of her four-story home on Vanderhorst Street downtown.

"I woke up to the text and it freaked me out when I woke up," Bowers said.

Fire officials say a stranger knocked on the door of the house around 4 a.m. Saturday morning and told one of Bowers' roommates that her house was on fire. The roommate put the fire out with a pale of water and reportedly went back to sleep.

The next morning Bowers saw the damage and called police.

"I could smell smoke through my vents. It smelled like a bon fire or something," Bowers said.

Bowers lives on the fourth floor, and the house does not have a fire escape.

"I've always had a major concern about that, about how we would get out. I've contemplated jumping off the roof if there was a fire to happen and especially in the middle of the night."

Thankfully, there was little damage to the home and no one was injured. But, Bowers can't help but think how deadly the fire could have been.

"I would have died. All of my roommates would have died. There's no way that we could get out."

Fire officials have not yet said whether this fire is linked to the string of arsons in the downtown area dating back to 2002. However, they are investigating the incident as "suspicious".