Apartments evacuated after early morning fire

Fire at Hampton Oaks Apartments, North Charleston

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- North Charleston firefighters are battling a large apartment fire at Hampton Oaks Apartments on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.

Flames shot through the windows and roof as firefighters fought to save the building and evacuate residents.

The apartments are located near Trident Technical College.

Smoke was so thick, witnesses could not even see the building as they struggled to keep warm.

Northbound lanes of Rivers Avenue were closed at the 6600 block to protect firefighters and equipment. One lane reopened around 9 a.m.

Officials on scene say there are no injuries as a result of the fire. The apartment building was evacuated shortly after 5:15 a.m.

Officials said the arson unit will be investigating to determine the cause.

According to red Cross officials on the scene, 16 apartments and 13 families are affected. The victims are being sent to Stall High School where the Red Cross will assist them with supplies and make arrangements as needed.

Jason Sakran with the Charleston County School District said the victims, about 40 people in all, will be taken to an auxiliary auditorium so no school schedules will be affected.

According to NCFD spokesperson Bianca Bourbeau, firefighters responded to the same complex Wednesday in building 700 just after 2:30 p.m.{}

"The fire at that building was limited to the bathroom of one unit," she said. "The specific cause determination is under investigation. In that fire there were no reported injuries."

Stay with ABC News 4 for continuing updates on this developing story.