Fire Chief: Discarded cigarette likely caused Greer fire
Flames could be seen at a structure off Dillard Road. (April 2, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Jami Powell watches her home burn with neighbors who saved her and her twin babies. (April 2, 2014/FOX Carolina)
(April 2, 2014/FOX Carolina)
(April 2, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Witness Dat Nguyen puts out hotspots in his neighbors yard. (April 2, 2014/FOX Carolina)
GREER, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Firefighters from multiple departments responded to several structure fires at the Riverwood Farms subdivision in Greer on Wednesday afternoon.
Greer Fire Chief Chris Harvey said they responded to a 911 call of a brush fire off Dillard Road at 2:39 p.m., but because of the high winds, it spread to a house in the area.
He said the fire then jumped to more houses in the subdivision.
A home and three condos were destroyed, and several other homes suffered minor damage, according to Harvey.
Harvey said residents of the first house, who were home at the time of the fire, were able to get out safely with their twin babies.
He said there was no loss of life, but several firefighters were treated by EMS.
Harvey said the fire was most likely caused by a cigarette that was thrown from a passing car.
FOX Carolina reporter Dana Wachter spoke with Dat Nguyen, who lives in the subdivision, who said he saw smoke and then his sprinklers turned on. He then began putting out hotspots in his neighbors yard.
Neighbor Sara Warpinski said people at her house saw smoke in a yard and went to knock on the door of the home that ultimately went up in flames. Jami Powell opened the door, and with Warpinski and others' help, was able to take her dogs and 3-month-old twin babies to safety.
"I have twins in the bouncy seats, literally, and we ripped them out of the bouncy seats because I couldn't even get them open, and we ran out of the house and grabbed the dogs on the way out, and that was it," explained Powell.
Powell said she and her family moved into the house just five days ago. She said everything was still in boxes and now she's lost everything in the fire, including diapers and baby formula for the twins, all of her 2-year-old's things. The family also lost irreplaceables like memorabilia from running the Iditarod in Alaska and items that belonged to her mother, who recently passed away.
Warpinski and others even broke into some of their neighbors' homes to rescue animals in case any other homes caught fire.
Many of the yards of houses that back up to Dillard Road were completely scorched. Some of those also received heat damage to the back of their homes.
Fire crews cleared out of the Estates side of Riverwood Farm during the 10 p.m. hour on Wednesday, but they continued to put water on hot spots of the three units that burned in the Townes section of the subdivision.
The Greer Commission of Public Works sent crews to check gas lines as the intense heat caused damage to many meters that lined the street. The lines were turned off before crews determine if they are safe.
The Red Cross responded, bringing supplies and food for the workers, plus those whose homes burned, and helped displaced families find hotels for the time being.
Members of the subdivision said they will create a fund to help raise money for the families who lost everything.
Monetary donations to the families can be dropped off at any Bank of America location. Tell them you would like to donate to the Riverwood Farm Homeowners Associate Fire.
Donations for items the families are in immediate need of can be donated to Pleasant Grove Church in Greer.
A fundraiser will be held at the church on May 10.
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