Crews battle apartment fire in West Ashley

(Scott Garrand/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Crews from the Charleston Fire Department and St. Andrews Fire Department responded to a fire at Moss Creek Apartments on William Kennerty Drive in West Ashley Friday.

The fire sparked shortly around 6:45 a.m., according to Charleston County dispatchers.

Charleston Police shut down several nearby streets and traffic was slow going.

The apartment complex is adjacent to West Ashley Middle School with only one entrance in and out and a brick wall surrounding it.

Cpl. Bowie with the Charleston Police said building 13 in the complex sustained the most damage. According to an official on the scene, 16 units -- eight on the top and eight on the bottom floors of a two-story building -- were damaged by fire and part of the roof collapsed.

One resident reported a minor injury to a finger. Initially no other injuries were reported but our crew saw one person being loaded into an ambulance. Later in the morning, officials confirmed that three people had fire related injuries, including a leg injury from jumping out of a window. There were also reports of smoke inhalation and minor cuts.

No firefighters were injured.

"I'm relieved to know that they're alive. Their life is more important than anything. To know that they're alive; you can always replace clothes and furniture, but you can't replace a life," said Joseph Matthews, whose godson, 2, escaped the fire with his mother.

Raswan Felder said he woke up to a call Friday morning. The caller told him his girlfriend's apartment was on fire. He rushed over, knowing she and his son were inside.

"I didn't know what was going on. I'm just happy my family is safe. His mother saved him that is all that counts to me," Felder said.

Felder said his girlfriend was too shaken to talk to anyone.

"She even tried to grab her pocket book and she wasn't able to get that. They completely lost everything," he said.

Taxi driver Kevin Begimkulov lives in the affected Moss Creek building. He left before the fire started Friday morning and didn't come back until it was too late.

"Inside it's just the water. The top floor was just burned. They didn't let me get my stuff. They're still working on it," he said.

He may be alive but he said his livelihood was still inside: his immigration paperwork that allows him to legally stay in the U.S. Begimkulov said he had some friends who offered him a place to stay.

Felder said his son and girlfriend would stay with him indefinitely.

Some residents told ABC News 4 they were forced to walk to work or take the bus.

Bowie also said it was "business as usual" at the school.

At 9 a.m., flames were still glowing from inside the building as firefighters worked on hot spots, shooting water through the collapsed roof. Once the hot spots were put out, firefighters entered the building.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, according to officials.

American Red Cross officials said they are assisting 32 people, including 23 adults and 9 children.