Neighbors recall early morning fire; elderly woman dies

(Source: Josh Benser/WCIV)

CROSS, S.C. (WCIV) -- Jennifer Hall was en route to pick up a friend before work when she drove by a house fire.

"It was a big flame. It was going straight up to the sky," Halls said.{}

Laura Jordan lives behind the home that caught fire. She says the fire initially sounded like someone was breaking into her home.{}

"We were unlocking the door because it locks from the inside," said Jordan. "And all you could see was the flames from my car because they were so intense and they were so hot."

Fire Department officials say an elderly woman was entrapped in the fire and her son tried to save her.{}

"We saw the guy outside and he said please call 911," said Halls. "He told us that his mom was in the house and she was bed ridden. So, she couldn't get up."{}

The Berkeley County coroner identified the victim as Patricia Ham. On Tuesday afternoon, the coroner's office said an autopsy had been performed, but a cause of death was still pending.

"She was just like my grandmother," said Brandon Jackson, a family friend.{}

Neighbors say Ham spent time volunteering at the Cross Wildlife Action, Inc.{}

"Me and my brother, when we were 16 and 14, she sent us to a wildlife camp. She's been there through all of our lives. She's helped everybody," Jackson said.

The victim's son, a man in his mid-40s, was able to get out of the house alive. George Oliver, with the Berkeley County Coroner's Office, says the victim suffered from dementia and was recovering from a recent surgery.

The fire spread to a second home next door. Moncks Corner Rural Fire Department Chief Scott Lee says the second home belongs to a fireman's family. Officials say they were all able to get out safe.

The fire happened on Oakland Drive in Cross near the Canal Lakes Resort.

Cross Fire Department and Moncks Corner Rural Fire Department responded. The State Law Enforcement Division is also on the scene.

Officials said the cause of the fire would be released later in the week.

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