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Lightning Strike Ignites Fire on Radcliffe Street, Displacing 22 in Charleston Building

Building engulfed in flames

Lightning Strike Ignites Fire on Radcliffe Street, Displacing 22 in Charleston Building

A severe incident unfolded on Sunday, May 19, 2024 as a lightning strike allegedly ignited a fire in a multi-unit dwelling on Radcliffe Street in Charleston, South Carolina, forcing 22 residents to vacate their homes.

How the Event Transpired

The exterior of the building situated at 39 Radcliffe Street remained unscathed, misleading many onlookers. However, unseen damage within the core of the building became a reason for alarm among the hundreds of inhabitants in the complex. “My wife heard a very large thunder crack. It was simultaneous with the flash of the lightning,” Brent Ducote, a nearby resident, conveyed his experience.

A group of residents also reported that they felt the shock of the lightning strike which they believe initiated the fire within the walls of one of the apartments. “Multiple tenants were home at the time and stated that there was a fire in the walls in one of the apartments, and just before the fire, they heard a lightning strike and felt a lightning strike hit the house,” informed the Charleston Fire Department Deputy Fire Marshal, Paul Kondor.

A Community Unaware of the Danger

Due to the absence of visible damage or smoke emitted from the building, several neighbors remained unaware of the fire’s existence. It was the presence of multiple emergency personnel at the scene that emphasized the gravity of the situation to the nearby bystanders.

Relief Efforts by the Red Cross

The American Red Cross has stepped in to provide assistance to 16 of the 22 affected residents. “We provide direct financial assistance, which allows them to procure some extra clothing, perhaps spend a night in a hotel, or buy food to replenish their immediate stocks,” stated Brint Patrick, the Executive Director of the Lowcountry Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The remaining six were students who had already vacated for the summer break. In the wake of this calamity, the Red Cross underlined the significance of emergency preparedness, especially the use of working smoke alarms, even when flames might not be visible. The organization reported having responded to 92 house fires and other disasters in Charleston County alone this year, supporting over 420 individuals in crisis.

Ensuring Safety Against Future Calamities

Educating the community on the importance of safety measures, the Red Cross emphasized that smoke alarms play a pivotal role in timely evacuation during such incidents. “People often escape because their smoke alarm went off, not because they see a fire. That’s the importance of having those smoke detectors,” added Patrick, urging locals to ensure their alarms are functioning correctly and to have an effective escape plan in case of emergencies.

This accident serves as a stern reminder that natural disasters can strike at any time, warranting consistent preparedness and vigilance for rapid response to safeguard lives and properties.

Lightning Strike Ignites Fire on Radcliffe Street, Displacing 22 in Charleston Building

HERE Charleston
Author: HERE Charleston

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