NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston's consolidated dispatch has confirmed that crews were called to a fire at an apartment complex around 7:15 a.m. Monday.
The fire was in building eight of Dorchester Village Apartments on Nelson Street in North Charleston off Dorchester Road. It took about an hour for crews to put out the fire.
"It hurts to see my house, that I've lived in for three or four years burned down," said resident Dennte Bennett
According to North Charleston Fire Department spokesperson Bianca Sancic, several families are displaced. She said 23 people are affected, displaced from eight apartments.
The Red Cross reports they are assisting 21 people including 12 adults and 9 children.
While there is no official cause yet, according to Ashley Brown, the fire started when she turned on her apartment's heater and fire burst out of the heating unit.
"I woke up around 6:30 to cut on my heater because I was cold," said Brown. "I went back to sleep for a little while before I got up for work, me and my daughter, and it so happened my dad called and we were smelling smoke but we figured since the window was up, it was outside somewhere and then once I woke up and opened the door, all the flames was in the middle hallway by the door where they keep the a/c and vents and stuff."
Then the ceiling started to fall in so Brown said she grabbed her 2-year-old daughter and ran out of her apartment with nothing but the clothes they had worn to bed."It's a good thing my dad called because I was about to be in a deep sleep," she said and Sancic says that's when it's most dangerous for potential fire victims."When you go to sleep, your nose stops functioning. You can not smell when you're asleep," Sancic said. "So when they say wake up and smell the coffee, you have to wake up before you smell the coffee and a smoke alarm is the only way, if you're asleep, you're going to know there's a fire in that house."
Sancic said there were no injuries and no firefighters were injured during the incident. Three people were checked out by EMS but they were released at the scene.
Along with NCFD, the City of Charleston Fire Department and St. Andrews Fire also responded to the two-alarm fire.
Both Leslie and Nelson streets are closed to traffic until further notice.
We will update this story as more details become available.