Fire officials: Ashley Shores fire intentionally set

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Fire investigators at an abandoned apartment complex in North Charleston was intentionally set.

Firefighters said before responding to the fire that consumed much of the building, they put out a small fire on a porch earlier in the day.

Firefighters spent several hours battling a fire at the Ashley Shores Apartments Thursday afternoon where residents were recently ordered to move out.

According to North Charleston fire officials, the first crews arrived at the Ashley Shores Apartments Thursday afternoon and found heavy smoke and flames coming from one of the vacant apartment buildings.

The fire burned through the night Thursday, but firefighters had everything under control by early Friday morning.

Officials said there were no injuries as a result of the fire. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause.

In late May, residents of the apartment community were told to vacate their homes ahead of a pending sale. The business deal that forced out residents upset most of the people living in Ashley Shores.

"Where these people people back here going to get that type of money? You got some elderly people here that dont have nothing, so now you move to try and relocate," said one man.

He said many people there live on fixed incomes and are struggling to find the money needed to move. The man says he's also not surprised the fire department is now responding to arson calls.

Man: Yeah it sends a message, let them know, 'Hey, you're not just going to do this to me.' I might not benefit from setting your place on fire, but still I'm sending a message," he said.

The man said the deal between the current owner and the new owner left residents feeling bitter and helpless. He said it left a lot of people without a place to go.



Man: They're bitter, you done took my whole life, you done took my whole life.

"You got some people back here with four and five, six kids -- where are they going to go? They don't have money. Where they going to go? You can't afford to go buy a U-Haul truck," he said.

A city officials said Ashley Shores will be closely monitored after the fire.

Many neighbors went to North Charleston City Council and begged not to be kicked out of their homes, but council members said the owner has legal rights to do with the property whatever he wants.

The apartments are supposed to be completely vacated by the end of the month.