Midnight fire in Bluffton sends 1 to hospital. What were the ‘explosions’ neighbors heard?

The aftermath of a March 11 fire on Old Miller Road in Bluffton.
The aftermath of a March 11 fire on Old Miller Road in Bluffton. kkokal@islandpacket.com

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include information about smoke detectors in the home.

A fire at a Bluffton home on Old Miller Road injured one man and displaced three others in the early hours of March 11, according to Capt. Lee Levesque of the Bluffton Township Fire District.

Six fire units and two ambulances responded to the fire near Hampton Lake around 12:40 a.m., Levesque said. One man was transported to the hospital by Beaufort County ambulance for smoke inhalation.

Three other adult men were evacuated from the home.

Neighbors reported hearing “explosions” around the home during the fire, and Levesque said the sounds were likely two car tires that blew up in the driveway due to the intense heat.

Katherine Kokal, The Island Packet.

“It was jarring, even to us,” Levesque said of the exploding tires.

As for the cause of the fire, Levesque said, “We don’t know the specific cause yet because it is still under investigation,” but that “we absolutely believe it was accidental.”

Around 50 percent of the home and the car that was in the driveway were destroyed in the fire, Levesque said.

Firefighters confirmed Monday afternoon that there were no smoke detectors in the home.

Neighbors are taking clothing donations for the men displaced by the fire.

Katherine Kokal, The Island Packet.

South Carolina ranks among the top five deadliest cities in the U.S. for fire fatalities per capita, according to Levesque.

“Working smoke alarms are absolutely necessary in every home today,” he said. “Best case scenario there would be a smoke alarm in every room of the house but never a bathroom or the kitchen. At a minimum, there should be one working smoke alarm on every level and each side of your home.”

Accidental house fires are a serious safety threat. Learn how to cut down your risk by exercising these simple prevention tips.

For more information about smoke alarms or fire safety, email Bluffton Fire at info@blufftonfd.com

Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.